Bernadette Kiely was born in Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary. She began painting as a child, encouraged by the family’s interest in art – her mother and father both sketched, and her brother became an animator who now works for Steven Spielberg in Los Angeles, California.
She took a degree in graphic design at the Waterford School of Art, after which she spent two years working in New York and London in graphic design and architecture.
Elected a member of the prestigious artist-group Aosdána in 2007, she has shown her works at numerous exhibitions in Denmark, Britain, USA, as well as Ireland. Her paintings are represented in many public and private collections of art, including: AIB, PMPA, An Bord Gais, Mayo General Hospital, University Hospital Cork, University of Limerick, the George Moore Society, Butler Gallery, Garter Lane Art Centre, Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Office of Public Works (OPW), the National Self Portrait Collection, University of Limerick, and A & L Goodbody, London.
Returning to Ireland in 1984, she became the first administrator for the Butler Gallery, and a year later took up painting full-time.