With a lifelong fascination for history, and especially for the 1916 Rising, Darren never had any particular wish to write. In fact, he thought he was no good at it. After school, he became a roadie, or officially, a backline technician for various bands in London, taking in Glastonbury and other locations.
“I worked with bands like Oasis and enjoyed the job for almost 20 years.” By then he was married with a child, and his wife was expecting again. “So I became an at home Dad.”
Then, along with his childhood friend, the co-author Derek Molyneux, Darren set up a Facebook page called ‘Dublin 1916Then and Now.’ Concentrating on the buildings, and on military history, it garnered a great deal of interest.
Soon the duo realised they had enough material for a book.
“We broke down the information into each battalion, and wrote the story about particular individuals within each company.”
Who is Darren Kelly
Date of birth: 21st April, 1970, in Luton. “But soon we moved to Kildare, and then, when my dad died, to Drumcondra, Dublin.”
Education: Plunkett college, Whitehall, in Santry.
Home: Near Romford, in Essex.
Family: Wife Joanne, Aaron, 21, Liam, 6, and Edele, 3.
The Day Job: An at home Dad.
Interests: I love GAA, military history, and reading.
Favourite Writers: Bram Stoker; HP Lovecraft; Paul Mann; Lorcan Collins; Paul O’Brien; Arthur Conan Doyle.
Second Novel: “We’ve planned a series of four or five. We’re aiming to follow the characters up until the Civil War. The next one will cover their time in the prison camps, the executions and deportations.”
Top Writing Tip: Have notepads in every room; and never give up.
Web: Facebook page. dublin1916thenand now Twitter:@darrenkelly0
The Debut: When the Clock Struck in 1916: The Collins Press: €15.99
Following the foot soldiers, and their action on the bullet-ridden streets of Dublin, this shows exactly what 1916 was like for those who took part on both sides. These include 2nd Lieutenant Guy Vickery Pinfield, who led the charge on Dublin Castle, and Sean McLoughlin who rose in rank from volunteer to Commander General in five days.
“The 1916 Rising changed everything in Dublin. Until then, rebels were booed. Afterwards the whole of Dublin was behind them.”
The Verdict: A fascinating, well rounded account.
Published in The Irish Examiner, April 4th.
© Sue Leonard. 2015