I am predominately a creative non-fiction writer. This website is intended to give you a brief overview of my work – containing extracts from my books as well as a selection of my previously published articles. I hope you will enjoy the journey that it takes you on  – which includes images of Ireland, intended to remind you of the beauty of its landscape.

Biography – Authors Profile

Declan Henry lives in Kent, England and was born in County Sligo, Ireland. He was educated at Goldsmiths’ College and King’s College, London. Declan holds a Master of Science Degree in Mental Health Social Work and a BA (Hons) in Education and Community Studies. He has dual vocational qualifications in Social Work and Community and Youth Work. He is a registered social worker and has worked in the profession since 1993.

To date, Declan has written seven books: view book page His next book about young Young Refugees and Asylum Seekers is due to be published in September 2020 by Critical Publishing, UK. He is the bronze winner of the 2017 Independent Publisher Book Award in the LGBT non-fiction list for his book Trans Voices – Becoming Who You Are

Declan is a reviewer for the New York Journal Of Books – view here

In addition to his books, Declan has also been published in the media, both in Ireland and the UK, including articles in: Irish Independent, The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner, The Kent Journal of Mental Health, Kent Messenger, Huffington Post, The Irish News, The Irish Post, The Irish World and Ireland’s Eye.

The Writer Within

I love being a writer. It’s what drives me in life. And as a naturally curious person, I’m fascinated by what makes people tick. I like discovering how people conquer their adversaries and love human interest stories. My books are essentially about people – their characters, emotions, thoughts and reactions – and mainly which qualities and attributes make them such unique individuals.

As a writer, I try to incorporate both sides of humanity into my writing, having learned that life is far from grim and that there is enough kindness, compassion, love and humour to overcome life’s obstacles, regardless of how much misery, abuse, or injustice exists. I try to compensate the darkness by highlighting the kinder side of nature, because otherwise I risk painting the world as a dull and bleak place. I am currently considering a number of options in the lead-up to my next writing venture – because writing is simply in my blood

Publications


Please feel free to view some of my previous publications from the menu below:

Books


Voices of Modern Islam

A collection of interviews with over 100 British Muslims to provide insight into what it means to be a Muslim in today's culture, and to inform any misguided opinions about Islam. Explores the Holy Texts, the essence of the religion, the different types of Islam and addresses controversial topics such as extremism and Islamophobia.

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TRANS VOICES - Becoming Who You Are

Trans Voices contains interviews from over one hundred transgender and non-binary people, highlighting the diverse experiences and challenges they face before, during and after transition. This comprehensive book explores a range of topics such as hormone treatments, reassignment surgeries, sex and sexuality, mental health and transphobia whilst detailing the social, physical and emotional struggles involved.

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Why Bipolar?

We live in a world filled with beauty, wonderment and equilibrium – but equally one that is filled with evil, suffering and injustice. People with emotional and mental health problems have endured profound ignorance and bigotry from society for centuries.Society is frightened by The Different, and it always has been. The Different have been persecuted for centuries – ethnic minorities, non-majority sexualities, people with disabilities…‘The Mad’.

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Buried Deep In My Heart

This coming of age story from Declan Henry captures life growing up on a farm in Derrykinlough, a rural village on the Sligo/Mayo border in the Irish Republic during the 1970s and early 1980s. This is an evocative account of an Irish childhood and tells of a now vanished world – settled, highly traditional and moulded at every point by Catholicism. It’s an account of self-discovery while encapsulating the hopes and ideals reminiscent of the time.

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Glimpses

Three out of every four children enjoy a good enough childhood, and manage to successfully navigate the transition from adolescence to adulthood-emerging as sane and well-adjusted human beings. However, the remaining one in four of our children are ill treated, abused, brutalised and abandoned through circumstances beyond their control. The 26 short stories contained in Glimpses are all based on fictional characters, the circumstances displayed are true to life.

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Forbidden Fruit

The cracks in the Irish Catholic Church are deepening. Sparked by the clerical abuse scandals of the ‘90s and subsequent cover-ups and denials, the underpinning pillars of trust and respect continue to crumble. This explosive book investigates life and Catholicism in Ireland over the past thirty years, exposing the hypocrisy further threatening its future. We need answers: why does the church still view homosexuality as sinful when a high percentage of Catholic priests are gay? Why are homophobic Catholic...

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Book Reviews


My interest in books and reading stems back to my childhood growing up on a farm on the Sligo/Mayo border. My mother loved reading and in our sitting room there was a large bookcase filled mainly with novels that she had collected while living in England prior to marrying my father. It was only when I got older that I discovered many gems in the bookcase including works by Dickens, Shakespeare, Samuel Pepys, Nancy Mitford and Somerset Maughan.
 
I think everybody should be a reader. Books are the greatest source of knowledge. They allow us to enjoy new experiences and reassure us that other people’s lives are not so different from our own in the way we all think, act and love. Books also allow readers to enter into the realms of escapism, mystery and intrigue. Despite e-books flooding the market in the last decade, the printed word remains the preferred format for the majority of readers. Perhaps, it’s the feeling of holding a book, or its jacket cover, or the ability to easily flick through its pages which makes the experience special and personal to each individual – something which cannot be equalled in an electronic sense.

I read book reviews every week in various newspapers. These are usually books which have just been published, but reviews are not only for new books, surely?  Whether a book is six months old or sixty years old, the person reading it will hold an opinion of what they’ve read. Some of my favourite authors include Ian McEwan, Colm Tóibín, John McGahern and Patrick Gale. It doesn’t matter if a book is by your favourite or by some new or forgotten author, there is a story waiting to be read and for you to voice your comments. A review is merely an opinion. One person might love a book but somebody else might feel less enthralled. The reviews I have written here are stories from an eclectic selection of writers. A lot of them are male authors which I must admit is bashful prejudice on my part!
 
I hope you enjoy my reviews and should you wish to share your own opinion on any of them please feel free to drop me an email via the contacts section on this website.

Old Irish Houses

These houses were once the pride and joy of their owners. Imagine the happiness experienced when they moved into their new home. The busy time spent unpacking, arranging furniture and objects whilst open turf fires provided warmth and a picture of the Sacred Heart over the mantelpiece assured protection.

The remains of these houses now ache with memories of the days when laughter was heard from adults and children alike from within their walls. Where prayers were said as a family, where children completed their homework, where neighbours came to pass the time of day or play cards, where fiddles and flutes played with dancing in tow and where home cooked meals and freshly baked bread scented the air.

These houses will have witnessed the events that shaped many Irish lives – First Holy Communions, confirmations, weddings and wakes as well as the birth of grandchildren. They will have held the secrets, fears and desires of people who longed to be accepted for who they were. The battle against the elements, the harsh frosts, wind and rain, will also have been fought bravely.

And then time drew to a close and the end came. In each of these houses somebody will have closed the door for the last time. Somebody will have slept there for a last night. Marking the end of an era, a sense of abandonment set in and gradual decay came about until, what was a once a home, became but a shell of its former glory.

Irish Catholic Churches

These holy places of worship have seen generations of families pass through their doors. Some of these buildings will have borne witness to thousands of happy and sad occasions throughout the last century. The sanctuary lamp perpetually lit as a reminder of being in God’s house. Those arriving with a heavy heart find respite from their troubles. The walls hold many secrets from… both the living and the dead. Shame, fear and guilt experienced by our ancestors for perceived transgressions are no longer viewed in society as wrong. Prayers will have changed radically over the years. Most of what people prayed for eighty or even fifty years ago is unrecognisable in today’s world, although petitions for good health and fine weather remain the same.

Since the 1990s, church attendances have slowly dwindled in the aftermath of clerical child abuse scandals. The crimes of a minority of priests helped tarnish the reputation of many good men who had devoted their lives to the priesthood. Despite smaller congregations and notably fewer young people attending Sunday Mass, the Catholic custom still remains in place for a great number of families. Some traditions will never be lost because there is still something beautiful, peaceful and reassuring about entering a Catholic church. I personally feel that no matter how long I leave in-between my visits that I sense a welcome, a familiarity that I don’t feel anywhere else. I guess that is what makes our faith so special.,/p>

Irish Castles

Ireland has numerous castles spread across its four provinces. Many are merely preserved ruins, some have been adopted by the Office of Public Works and restored to high levels of craftsmanship, and others transformed into luxurious hotels. One thing they all have in common, though, is that they are steeped in history, with some dating back to the Middle Ages. Ireland once had its own noble system with dozens of High Kings – the last of whom was Brian Boru, who died at the battle of Clontarf in 1014 – however, neither he nor his predecessors will ever have lived in a castle.

It wasn’t until the Normans captured and invaded Ireland in the late 11th century that castles emerged. The Norman invaders mainly consisted of Earls and Barons, and their castles were built as symbols of status and power. Possession of a castle, a wife of fine-breeding, a few good horses and a pocketful of golden coins reflected a high position in society.

The castles varied in architectural design but the turret (a tower where servants or soldiers kept watch) was a common feature in all of them. Ireland was a very rough and disordered society back then in what would later be described by historians as a cruel and violent age. The castles served as fortresses for protection against enemies and often functioned as prisons, where prisoners were kept in overcrowded, dark dungeons and made to sleep on bare earth with little food. This would be in contrast to the nobility upstairs where wood fires burned, comfortable straw beds were slept on and the finest venison, pork or beef was served for dinner, washed down by generous amounts of ale prompting laughter and song to echo round the castle walls.

Whilst some had to wash in rivers, the aristocracy had their servants boil water for them. Some ladies will have enjoyed the luxury of soap, but overall, personal hygiene was often neglected and some never even washed.

By the 14th Century, society became increasingly sophisticated, which meant the aristocracy wanted more comfort. Many castles were restructured and had glass windows installed to improve warmth. Interiors became grander and beautiful tapestries adorned the castle walls. By then, castles were centres of administration for the wealthy landowners and a hive of activity where farmers went to pay taxes. They were no longer useful as fortresses because of the advent of gunpowder, and instead, gradually became domestic homes – with the retained castle features illustrating the occupants’ wealth. Others were abandoned and never occupied again.

The Romantic Movement of the 19th Century, however, saw a rise in the number of castles bought by wealthy manufacturers or businessmen who restored them into grand places of residence. By the 20th Century, some of the larger castles were sold and turned into hotels. Whilst this entailed extensive building work, some of the original stonework was often retained, and the majority kept the turret – a symbol of its past history.

To view and download my ADHD booklet in the PDF format, simply use the menu situated at the top right of the image. This booklet continues to be distributed throughout Kent to parents and professionals.

You are also very welcome to email me. It’s always great to hear from people who have enjoyed my writing. You can also wish to like and view my author’s facebook page (click on the icon below). My page contains updates on my writing, book reviews – as well as opinions and previously published material from my archives.

info@declanhenry.co.uk

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