Death or Dying? Call Your Interfaith Celebrant!


Times are changing in Ireland and the interfaith funeral industry is growing.  Gone are the days where the first person to call is the Funeral Home.

Modern-day Irish are now calling on the services of an Interfaith Funeral Celebrant as their first point of contact, to act as also as their ceremony planner, recommending everything from the music through to the Funeral Director and venue, designing, creating and conducting the ceremony in consultation with the family.

The best Funeral Homes will work alongside your preferred choice of celebrant, but many won’t even give you the option.  An experienced Interfaith Funeral Celebrant will provide you with many ideas and options you never thought possible.  Gone are the days where the funeral service consists of nothing more than the short paragraph extracted from the website RIP and a few standard readings thrown in for good measure.

Sharon Quigley, Interfaith Celebrant from Cork City tells us “Gone also are the days where the people went straight to the Funeral Director after a death in the family.  More and more people are calling an Interfaith Celebrant first of all – to help them plan, create and conduct their end of life celebration, or funeral service for the feeling of freedom it gives them.   Being asked to recommend Funeral Directors is not an uncommon request, times are certainly changing!”

Folk are demanding even more to have their funeral service designed, created and conducted exactly how they want it to be!  When it comes to a funeral or end of life celebration as Sharon prefers to call it, almost anything is possible!

“If you would like to write your own eulogy during your last times of your life that’s possible too!  Some of the best funerals I’ve seen are those where the deceased has written their own eulogy!” Sharon says.

How do Interfaith Celebrants charge for their services?  I asked next.  “The best Interfaith Celebrants are always in high demand, so they charge an hourly rate, and rightly so!  It’s a huge responsibility and there is great skill and ability needed to do the job well, not only to create the ceremony in such a short space of time, but to conduct the ceremony flawlessly.  You only get one chance to say your last goodbye and do it right!”

The rate of pay certainly does reflect the calibre of the celebrant and the level of service they provide.  Don’t be tempted to choose the celebrant with the lowest hourly rate or the lowest fixed price, unless you don’t really want a personalised ceremony, as they will not be providing anywhere near the same level of customised ceremony as the celebrant who charges a higher hourly rate.

If you think you are going to become a funeral celebrant and cash in on some easy money, you will need to think again.  This work requires dedication to survive, and working long hours well into the night.  At least two years to become established.  You won’t get rich quick doing this work, it’s definitley a calling.

For those wanting to complete the training, who do you recommend? “I would have to say Dally Messenger’s International College of Celebrancy, where I trained.  Dally is the world’s pioneering Civil Funeral Celebrant, a former Catholic priest too, his experience is impeccable.  He trained the first celebrants in the UK and also in the USA.  Dally’s college offers a distance course with a working mentor in Ireland and with the EUR to AUD exchange rate is also the best value for money around by far too!  I always prefer to learn from the most experienced in the industry, it gives you the best head start.

Then the rest is up to you, be prepared to put in at least two or three years of hard work getting established, maybe longer before you can start to earn a living from it.  But believe in yourself and never give up.  The work is out there, but you have to create it and be patient.  Very patient.