Kieran O'Reilly (performer)

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Kieran O Reilly
Kieran O'Reilly in Dublin, Jan 2017.jpg
O'Reilly in Dublin, Ireland in 2017
Background information
Born (1979-09-03) 3 September 1979 (age 39)
GenresAlternative, indie, rock
Occupation(s)Musician, producer, actor, writer, police officer
InstrumentsVocals, drums, guitar
Years active2003–present
Associated actsDoris, White McKenzie & Hail The Ghost

Kieran O'Reilly (born 3 September 1979) is an actor, musician and producer. He is also the songwriter and lead vocalist with the Irish alternative rock band, Hail The Ghost. He is best known for his controversial role as Detective Garda Ciaran Madden in RTÉ's hit crime drama, Love/Hate.[1] He currently appears in the History Channel series Vikings.[2]


O'Reilly was born Kieran Mark O'Reilly and is a twin. He grew up in Dublin, Ireland, and was educated at St. Kilians National School in Tallaght and Synge Street CBS in Dublin's City Centre. On leaving school, he worked as a clerk in the Special Detective Unit in Dublin and in 2000, he enrolled in An Garda Síochána (Ireland's National Police Force).[3] He was stationed at Pearse Street Garda Station in the city centre where he worked in the District Drug Unit.[4] He was then promoted to Detective to the National Drug Unit based in Dublin Castle, where he worked undercover for many years, infiltrating drug gangs on a national and international level, reportedly working on over 500 investigations.[5][6]


In 2013, O'Reilly auditioned for a part in the RTÉ crime drama, Love/Hate, securing the role of Detective Ciaran Madden. He first appeared on Irish television screens on 12 October 2013 as part of the opening sequence to Episode 2 (Love/Hate Season 4) playing the part of an undercover cop posing as a drug addict ("Heggo").[7] This role caused some controversy amongst top ranking officers, in particular, the then Commissioner, Martin Callinan. He ordered an inquiry into O'Reilly's appearance in the show, despite the fact that O'Reilly had not infringed any regulations of the Police Code of Conduct.[8] O'Reilly featured in Irish newspapers for several months and despite being transferred to The National Immigration Bureau,[9][10] was cleared of all matters in 2014.

O'Reilly's acting debut was well received by the Irish public and he was credited as a natural talent. His Love/Hate co-star,[11] Hollywood actor, Brían F. O'Byrne, praised O'Reilly's acting, stating, "He has a rare natural talent. As an actor, Kieran possesses an ease, a fluency and creativity on set that belies his novice status". He was also described by Love/Hate creator, Stuart Carolan, as "a pretty amazing actor".[12] The Sunday Times journalist Liam Fay wrote: "...but its initial believability has been enhanced by a strikingly rough-edged performance from Kieran O'Reilly, a real-life undercover Garda".[13] O'Reilly filmed Love/Hate Season 5 in 2014.[14][15][16] He is currently a member of the Bow Street Academy for Screen Acting.[17]



Kieran O'Reilly began playing music in 2003, teaching himself how to play the drums. That same year, he joined Dublin pop/rock band, Doris. O'Reilly was a central figure in the band's development and assisted in the releasing of the band's first two singles, "Will I Ever Learn" and "Stop". During O'Reilly's time in the band, they were selected by Hot Press Magazine to have a music video shot for "Will I Ever Learn" in conjunction with the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.[18] O'Reilly left the band in 2007.

White McKenzie[edit]

Kieran O'Reilly pictured in Dublin with members of the American Band, Other Lives.

O'Reilly formed White McKenzie in 2010 with a group of friends. He was the sole vocalist and songwriter for the band. In 2011, in only the band's third live performance, they played in the final of the Shercock Battle of the Bands competition, competing for a place to play in the Glastonbury Festival in the UK; however they missed out on the top prize to Irish blues band, Crow Black Chicken.[19] O'Reilly and friends later released a 7 track Mini Album/E.P. entitled Absence.[20][21] The sleeve image for this E.P. was provided by Rob Hann (New York City). In November 2011, Jackie Hayden of Hot Press Magazine chose Absence as his "Pick of the Fortnight".[22] White McKenzie also opened the Kildare leg of the First Music Contact Tour on 9 November 2012, sharing the stage with Squarehead, We Cut Corners and The Lost Brothers.[23] White McKenzie released their single, 'Heatseeker'[24] in late 2012, shortly before the band broke up. Sensing band members were moving in different directions, O'Reilly decided to leave the band. "I just felt that I didn't really want to pursue it any longer, and I wanted to preserve the friendships that were there. Which we did, we're all still great friends. I just felt that we didn't know what we were doing, and I think the lads felt the same".[25] The band were described by Today FM presenter, Ian Dempsey, as "really top quality".[26] In 2016, several White McKenzie tracks were featured in the Irish film, "Coming Home" by Cathal Kenna.[27][28]

Hail The Ghost[edit]

In 2014 O'Reilly formed Hail The Ghost which includes two former White McKenzie members, Ian Corr (piano/keys) and Eamon Young (guitars). O'Reilly spent 2014 writing and producing the band's debut album Forsaken with Corr, Young and Martin Quinn of JAM Studios[29] who co-produced and engineered the album. The album features O'Reilly playing drums, guitar and vocals. He credits The National, The Antlers and Elbow as influences when he was composing the album's songs which would be: "a piece that would have that cohesive feel to it, we would have that thematic thing and we would also have a story, beginning to end. Though it's not necessarily a story [in a book] sense, but like an actual journey."[30] The band's song, 'LAZISE' was used by the G.A.A. in their advertising campaign for the 'GAA NOW' initiative throughout the 2017 All-Ireland Championships. The online video was played 700,000 times in four weeks."[31][32]


O'Reilly wrote the screenplay for the Irish feature film, 'For Molly', which premiered on October 4th, 2018.[33][34] He wrote the film in just four months and when asked about how he began writing, O'Reilly credited Love/Hate writer, Stuart Carolan with being the primary inspiration - stating, "I have been writing ever since I picked up Stuart Carolan’s script [for Love/Hate] because when I picked up that script, I thought: I want to be a writer."[35][36] O'Reilly is reported to have written numerous screenplays since starting to write in 2013.[37][38]


O’Reilly was a member of the Sportsworld A.C. in Dublin. He competed in both track and cross-country. In 1999, at just 19 years of age, O’Reilly finished 7th in the National Under 23 Irish Championships in the 400m, with Olympians Paul Oppermann taking gold and James Nolan taking bronze.[39]

O’Reilly joined Mount Tallant Boxing Club in 1996 where he was trained by former double Olympian, Mick Dowling. In 1998 O’Reilly won the Dublin and Leinster Novice Middleweight Boxing Titles. In 1999 he won the Dublin and Leinster Intermediate Light-Heavyweight Boxing Titles, defeating Martin Sweeney of Phoenix Boxing Club in the Leinster final. In 2002, O’Reilly was defeated by Jamie Power of St. Francis Boxing Club in the quarter-finals of the National Irish Junior Championships. In 2003, O’Reilly won gold at the World Police and Fire Games in Barcelona in the Intermediate Light-Heavyweight division.[40]



Year Title Role Notes
2013–14 Love/Hate Heggo/Det. Ciaran Madden TV drama – 11 episodes
2015 Little Bear[41][42] Man Short film
2015 Battlefield Hardline[43] Gamer Promo
2015 Bully[44] Mr Fallon Film
2016 Prodigy News Reporter Short film
2016 Rebellion[45][46] Captain Robert Barton TV drama - 3 Episodes
2017–present Vikings[2] White Hair TV drama - TBC
2017 The Professor and the Madman[2] Minor's Father Film
2018 For Molly Evan Brady Film (Writer)
2018 Her Name Is[45] Male Addict Short Film



Year Album details
2011 White McKenzieAbsence
  • Released: 30 September 2011
  • Label: Independent
  • Formats: CD/Digital
  • Band: White McKenzie
2015 Hail The GhostForsaken
  • Released: 6 March 2015[47]
  • Label: Independent
  • Formats: CD/Digital
  • Band: Hail The Ghost


Year Single Band Peak chart positions
2006 "Will I Ever Learn" Doris 22[48]
2007 "Stop" Doris 32
2012 "Heatseeker" White McKenzie
2014 "Headstoned" Hail The Ghost 1[49]
2015 "Colony of Ants" Hail The Ghost 16

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Work Award Result
2016 Little Bear Discovery Award, Dublin International Film Festival[50] Nominated

External links[edit]


  1. ^ The Star, 15 October 2013, p. 1.
  2. ^ a b c "How do we pitch Ireland as a movie location to Hollywood?". 17 November 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  3. ^ "The Finest? Garda pugs prove quicker to punch". 16 February 2000. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  4. ^ The Irish Times, 24 June 2005, p. 23.
  5. ^ The Sun, 21 October 2013, p. 1.
  6. ^ The Irish Independent, 14 October 2013, pp. 2–3.
  7. ^ The Star, 16 October 2013, p. 8.
  8. ^ The Herald, 21 October 2013, p. 1.
  9. ^ Irish Independent, 11 January 2014, p. 7.
  10. ^ The Sun, 11 January 2014, p. 1.
  11. ^ Irish Independent, 15 October 2014, p. 6.
  12. ^ The Star, 15 October 2014, pp. 1–3.
  13. ^ The Sunday Times – Culture, 20 October 2013, p. 28.
  14. ^ The Star, 5 April 2014, p. 17.
  15. ^ The Sunday World, 13 April 2014, p. 1.
  16. ^ The Daily Mirror, 2 May 2014, p. 25.
  17. ^ "Take a Bow". 18 February 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  18. ^ "Hot Press Video Heaven". 9 May 2006. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  19. ^ The Irish Times, 4 March 2011, p. 33.
  20. ^ "Review: White McKenzie – Absence". 13 December 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  21. ^ Hot Press, vol: 35, issue: 23, 30 November 2011, p. 83.
  22. ^ Hotpress Magazine – Pick of the Fortnight, 2 November 2012, vol: 35, issue: 21, p. 30.
  23. ^ The Irish Times – The Ticket, 26 October 2012, p. 35.
  24. ^ "Review: White McKenzie – Heatseeker". 7 October 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  25. ^ "Interviews Hail the Ghost". Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  26. ^ Today FM – Breakfast Show, broadcast 16 September 2011.
  27. ^ "New Irish Documentary 'Coming Home' explores Irish Emigration". 8 November 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  28. ^ "Irish Film Review: Coming Home". 8 November 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  29. ^ Kieran O'Reilly's Twitter Page on Twitter
  30. ^ "Interviews Hail the Ghost". Scenepoint. Scenepoint. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  31. ^ "Fifty-Three Six". Fifty-Three Six. Fifty-Three Six. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  32. ^ "Music Supervision". rmrmusic. RMR Music. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  33. ^ "IrishFilm: Cathal Kenna's independent drama For Molly hits cinemas on October 5th". Scannain. Scannain. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  34. ^ "Love/Hate star brings cancer drama to cinemas". RTÉ. RTÉ. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  35. ^ "'People had the most heartbreaking, tragic stories' – Love/Hate actor on researching role of young man with terminal cancer for Irish film". Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  36. ^ "Ex-garda 'inspired to write by scripts for Love/Hate'". Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  37. ^ O'Reilly, Kieran (4 October 2018). "For Molly - Kieran O'Reilly and Maura Foley" (Interview). Interviewed by Ryan Tubridy. Player FM. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  38. ^ Debbie Mc Mahon (3 October 2018). "Lifeline:For Molly Irish Film" (Podcast). Near fm 90.3. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  39. ^ "Detailed Results - U23 Championships". Athletics Ireland. Athletics Ireland. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  40. ^ "World Police and Fire Games Results" (PDF). California Police Athletics Federation. World Police and Fire Games. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  41. ^ "Kieran O'Reilly: Man of Many Talents". 9 December 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  42. ^ Kojii Helnwein's Twitter Page on Twitter
  43. ^ "Love/Hate stars take the battle to the streets". 9 December 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  44. ^ Kieran O'Reilly's Twitter Page on Twitter
  45. ^ a b "Official IMDB Page of Kieran O'Reilly". 9 August 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  46. ^ "Cop Kieran's 1916 role as an officer you'll love to hate". 30 June 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  47. ^ "Hail The Ghost's new single 'Headstoned' reviewed". 3 December 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  48. ^ "aCharts". 1 June 2006. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  49. ^ "Watch: Love/Hate's Kieran O'Reilly debut video for new track 'Headstoned'". 10 December 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  50. ^ "Dublin International Film Festival Programme" (PDF). p. 64/65. Retrieved 7 February 2015.