He attended St Columb's College in Derry, received his B. A. from St. Pat's College, Maynooth (1945–48), and qualified as a teacher at St. Joseph's Training College in Belfast, 1949-50. He married Anne Morrison in 1954, with whom he has four daughters and one son; they remain married. Between 1950 and 1960, he worked as a Maths teacher in the Derry primary and intermediate school system, taking leave in 1960 to pursue a career as writer, living off his savings. He was appointed to the Seanad Éireann in 1987 and served until 1989. In 1989, BBC Radio launched a "Brian Friel Season", a series devoted a six-play season to his work, He was the first living playwright to receive such an honour. In 1999 (April–August), Friel's 70th birthday was celebrated in Dublin with the Friel Festival, during which ten of his plays were staged or presented as dramatic readings throughout Dublin. A conference, National Library exhibition, film screenings, pre-show talks, and the launching of a special issue of The Irish University Review devoted to the playwright ran in conjunction with the festival. In 1999, he also received a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Times.
- Three Sisters 1989 Translated and adapted