Irish playwright Samuel Beckett was a man who weighed his words, a solitary, lonely figure obsessed by silence, whose works struggled to express the absurdity of life. One hundred years after his birth, his tragicomic plays stalked by a host of unforgettable, often grotesque, characters remain among the most important of 20th century theatre.
"There are only two kinds of people in the world: the Irish and those who wish they were." So goes one Irish adage. And on Friday millions will get a wish come true, with parades and parties marking St Patrick's Day which, just like Irish immigrant communities, have spread to become a global excuse for a bit of <i>craic</i>, or fun.