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All the best: we chat with Kieran Gilmore

We ask local celebrities what are their most favourite things

The 47-year-old is the director of the Open House Festival, which takes place in Bangor throughout August. He lives with his partner, Alison Gordon, and their children, Katie-Rose (15), and Rory (12).

My best moment

It was going to New York when I was 17. I went with a group of friends under the pretence of working for the summer, but really we just partied. We had a fantastic time.

My best song

One that still sends shivers up the back of my neck when I hear it is God Save The Queen by the Sex Pistols. I heard it when I was 10, and the energy and the power of it left a huge impression on me. I listen to lots of kinds of music now, but I don’t think that any song has ever made such a strong impression.

My best way to relax

It’s going out on my motorbike. I have a Harley-Davidson Street Bob and when I get on that for a day-trip with friends I instantly relax. I don’t get  to go over to Europe as much as I would like but I still like little day-trips here and there to clear the head.

My best job

I’m in it. The festival has been running now for 17 years and I’ve been director since the start. Alison and I started it in our own living room and did it on a voluntary basis, but we’ve both been full-time now for the past 15 years.

My best bit of advice

There have been a few, but the festival went through a tough period about four or five years ago and we were under pressure from commercial promoters. A guy from Dublin called Bren Berry just told me to keep on doing the good work and to ignore the critics. We’ve kept doing that ever since and it’s become a little mantra.

My best gift

I was given a very smart corkscrew and bottle opener a few years ago. It’s a Scandinavian design. Someone who knows about design came over for dinner and said it was the most amazing corkscrew they had ever seen.

My best achievement

After the New York trip when I was 17, I dropped out of school and went travelling, but last year I went to university for the first time. I did a post-graduate diploma in arts leadership at Ulster University. It was hard work as it was a busy year, but it taught me a huge amount.

My best buy

It’s a toss-up between my house and my Harley-Davidson. I’m not very materialistic, but those are the two things I’ve enjoyed the most over the years. We bought the house at exactly the right time, just before the boom.

Best book

I read On The Road by Jack Kerouac in the summer when I went to New York. I think it’s one of the things that turned my head. I get through about a dozen books a year but I would like to read more.

Best film

It’s difficult to chose between Quadrophenia and Pulp Fiction.  Although I drive a Harley, I was a mod many years ago. It’s one of the reason we’re showing Quadrophenia at the festival. I’m also choosing Pulp Fiction because I had never seen a film like it before. I wasn’t expecting such a bizarre movie.

  • The Open House Festival takes place in Bangor throughout the month of August. For tickets and information, go to

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