Death or Dying? Call Your Civil Funeral Celebrant!


Times are changing in Ireland and civil 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 Civil Funeral Celebrant will provide you with many ideas and options 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 Civil Celebrant to help them through the process, sometimes even recommending the funeral director.  Times are certainly changing in Ireland as people realise they now have more opportunities to make their own funeral choices.

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

“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 actually written their own eulogy!” Sharon says.

How do Civil Celebrants charge for their services?  “Each will have their own pricing structure.  Like any professional service, 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 a high level of 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, because a good (or bad) ceremony really can influence how the family feels after the funeral service.

For most people, discussing the design of the funeral ceremony with their celebrant and putting it together is an essential part of their grieving process.  Therefore it’s essential to choose the right celebrant who understands what the family wants and will ensure the family’s wishes are met at all times.

If you think you would like to become a funeral celebrant and make some easy money for half an hour’s work, you will need to think again.  This work requires dedication to survive.  Preparing, writing and revising the ceremony often means working long hours well into the night due to the short time between death and the funeral service.  Allow at least two years and more to become established.  You won’t get rich quick doing this work, it’s definitely a calling, something you dedicate yourself to.

Is training necessary?
Qualifications are not necessary here in Ireland but on a professional level, it’s always best to have some professional training and a certificate behind you.  Training will always give you more confidence and self esteem.

For those wanting to complete the training and take the plunge, who do you recommend?   Myself 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.  Dally Messenger is highly respected as the founding father of Civil Celebrancy in Australia, he taught the founders of many training schools all over the world, including the UK and the USA.

Who wouldn’t want to be internationally-accredited by the best in the world, and with the exchange rates at an all-time low, at a bargain price too?  See www.celebrancy.com for more details.

I am an interfaith Celebrant, which means I conduct ceremonies for people of all faiths or none, Religious or non-Religious, Spiritual or non-Spiritual, Humanist, Atheist or no beliefs at all, or anything in between.

The time of the Civil Celebrant is here.

Sharon Quigley, Civil Celebrant www.corkcelebrant.ie