Meet Meath’s ‘Singing Priest’…our new YouTube sensation
A young couple were given the ultimate wedding surprise when their priest, Father Ray Kelly gifted them with an impromptu song.
Chris and Leah O’Kane wed in his parish in Oldcastle, Co Meath, when Fr Kelly (60) burst into a customised rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ and has become an overnight YouTube sensation.
The video of him performing this version of the classing song has gone viral, receiving more than 130,000 hits on the vi site.
“I like to sing, music is part of the family, it’s always been in the genes,” he told Ryan Tubridy on 2FM.
“I worked in Dublin for awhile and had the voice trained there and I stuck at it. I was part of the priest show in Dublin may years ago in Dublin.”
Fr Kelly, from Tyrrelstown, Co Westmeath, has been singing since ‘he was a lad’ and said that he is well known throughout the parish for his songs at wedding,s funerals of while performing mass on Sunday if the mood strikes.
“This was a girl from Dublin, Leah, and her husband was from Cookstown, Co Tyrone; they weren’t from the parish at all.
“Normally for a local, couple, they’d ask me to sing at the wedding and I’d oblige, but this couple had no idea,” he told the show.
“I put on my track for Leonard Cohen [at the altar] and that’s where it took off. The wedding ceremony was over, we were about to have the final prayer and do the civil part of the ceremony.
“The responses was quite amazing – there were some standing ovations and there was a big cheer and roar.
“I wanted to make it as comfortable and enjoyable in the church for the couple.”
Fr Kelly will celebrate his 25th year as a priest this year having joined the priest later in life, after working as a civil servant in Dublin for more than a decade.
“It was a decision made over a couple of years. A few of us went to Rome in 1980 with the Irish Catholic Youth Council, about 50 in my group and three or four of us went on to become priests,” he explained.
Meanwhile, he told the Ray D’Arcy show on Today FM he believes there is a positive shift in Ireland towards the Catholic Church.