Death or Dying? Call Your Multi-faith Celebrant!


Times are changing in Ireland and multi-faith funeral ceremonies are growing.  Gone are the days where your only choice for a non-religious funeral service was to do it yourself.

Modern-day folks in Ireland are now calling on the services of “lay celebrants” 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.

An experienced multi-faith Funeral Celebrant will provide you with many ideas and options you never thought possible to say goodbye to your loved one in the manner which they deserve.

Sharon Quigley, a Civil Celebrant from Australia who is now based in Cork City tells us: “For most Irish families it’s very traditional to use the same funeral director for generations, and the funeral director will make the arrangements on the families behalf.  But many people from other countries now living in Ireland, and they just don’t know a funeral director to call on.  So they are calling on the services of a “lay celebrant” or non-clergy ceremony celebrant who helps them through the process, even recommending the funeral director.  Times are certainly changing as people realise they have more freedom and more opportunities to make their own funeral choices.

Can people dvise their funeral director that they wish to appoint a celebrant to create and conduct the funeral service?  “Of course they can.” says Sharon.  “Every decision regarding the funeral service is ultimately up to the family.   There is no reason at all why the family can’t advise their funeral director that they would like a non-religous service if that is the wish of the deceased.” The funeral director is always there to carry out the wishes of the family and will do whatever they can to ensure the funeral service is exactly what the family request. ”

“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 in Ireland are those where the deceased has actually written their own eulogy!” Sharon says.

How do multi-faith and Civil Celebrants charge for their services?  “Each will have their own pricing structure.  Obviously the best are always in high demand, so they charge an hourly rate, and rightly so.  It’s a huge responsibility to be entrusted with, there is skill and ability needed to do the job well, not only to create a polished ceremony in such a short space of time, but to make sure everything is said that needs to be said and to conduct the ceremony flawlessly.  You only get one chance to say your last goodbye to your loved one.  As a guide, you shouldn’t be spending more on the funeral flowers than you are spending on your celebrant.   A good or bad celebrant really does make the difference between a very good or a very bad funeral service.

Don’t be tempted to choose the celebrant with the lowest fixed price either, unless you know them and they are doing you a special deal.  Otherwise I am afraid you will get what you pay for.  Their heart won’t be in it if they are not being paid what they are worth and when it comes to the crunch under pressure, they just won’t be prepared to go that extra mile to put the needs of the family first at all times.

If you think you would like 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.  Allow at least two years and more 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 always like to learn from the best in the industry, so I wouldn’t recommend anyone else but Dally Messenger’s International College of Celebrancy in Australia, who I trained with for my funeral studies.  I studied by distance from Melbourne while living here in Cork.  WIth exchange rates at an all time low, the price is ridiculously cheap as well.  Who wouldn’t want to be internationally-accredited by the best in the world, and at a bargain price too?