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Celebrating the life of Brian

What the country needs now is a faith healer, don't you think? I don't know if Kenny, Gilmore, Martin et al are men of faith, or -- more important -- healers, so I guess we'll have to stick to the artist Faith Healer, Brian Friel himself.

Without the author of Philadelphia, Here I Come, Dancing at Lughnasa, Molly Sweeney and, of course, Faith Healer, the landscape of cultural Ireland would be a lot flatter. Someone stop me before I turn into Fintan O'Toole -- although, truth be told, I could turn into worse.

Anyway, I am delighted to say that the life of Brian will be celebrated in A Tribute to Brian Friel night at the Burlington Hotel on March 5, starting at 8pm.

The occasion is to mark Friel's inauguration as Donegal Person of the Year 2010 (yes, yes, I know he was born in Co Tyrone, but his name is synonymous with Donegal).

It wouldn't be a million miles from the truth if I told you that Meryl Streep and Ralph Fiennes were names being bandied about for making an appearance on the night.

And you could probably put your house on Michael Colgan and Frank McGuinness, as well as Mary McAleese (by the way, what was Mazza wearing at the Iftas -- a curtain from the Aras?) making an appearance on the night to honour the great man.

Tickets are available from The Donegal Association website, www.donegalassociation.ie, from any member of the Donegal Association Committee, by email to donegalassociation@eircom.net; or by post to Sorcha Ni Dhomhnaill, Secretary, Donegal Association, c/o Teachers Club, 35 Parnell Square, Dublin 1.

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