07 Jul 2022

My Kildare Life Interview: Big Brother's Brian Dowling on growing up in Rathangan


My Kildare Life Interview: Big Brother's Brian Dowling on growing up in Rathangan

Brian Dowling

He lit up our screens back in 2001 when he won Big Brother.

Rathangan native Brian Dowling shot to fame thereafter.

Brian is the son of Gerard, born and raised in Rathangan, and Rosaleen from Kilmeague. He is the eldest of six sisters.

Sarah Peppard caught up with Brian to chat all things Kildare.

What is your first Kildare memory? 

Because I’ve got six sisters, my memories always remind me of Christmas, of growing up and Christmas being so exciting. They’re always my memories of the seven of us putting up the Christmas tree, waiting for Santy, stuff like that. 

When did you move away from Rathangan? 

My first time properly to move away was in 1998, when I joined Ryanair.

Do you ever miss living in Kildare? 

Well, I grew up in Rathangan, I’ve always lived in Rathangan at home, and now I live in London. When I was older I did want to kinda go away — I’m 18/19 years of age, what can you do here? I went from living in Rathangan where everyone knows everyone’s name, a tiny little village, to living in London. It was weird.

What do you miss most? 

I suppose for me, I think obviously because my life changed so dramatically especially after Big Brother, with Rathangan was the great sense of community. When I was on Big Brother I felt people in Rathangan and Kildare were proud. And the fact that I came out that I was gay just before the show, people were just so accepting, and so allowing. When I come home, you never feel any different.

Do you get to go back to Rathangan much? 

Oh God, I’m home all the time! I think I’m home at least twice a month, which is really good because I’ve got five nieces, two nephews and my sisters. I’ve always been a bit of a homebird.

Do your parents still live in Rathangan? 

Still living in Rathangan yeah, both my parents just turned 60. My mum’s on Snapchat and everything. It gets me in trouble sometimes! 

Where is your favourite place when you’re home? 

I do like going around Kildare Village, I also quite like going shopping in Newbridge. I used to work in Dunnes Stores so I still know some of the people that work in Dunnes and I’ll pop in and say hi, and I quite like the normality of going to Dunnes.

Would you see yourself moving back to Kildare? 

Yes. My husband and I said we’ll settle in Ireland. We’ll come back, build our dream home. Maybe in Co. Kildare!

So there ya are now, a return to the Lilywhite county could be on the cards!

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