By Madeline O’Connor
A YouTube video of a priest that breaks into song during a wedding ceremony has already amassed nearly 2.5m hits on YouTube.
Fr Ray Kelly, at the parish priest of Oldcastle, County Meath, stunned wedding guests at the weekend when he sang a pitch-perfect version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah at the end of the ceremony.
The video of his impromptu version was filmed, put up on Youtube and has proved a huge hit.
Fr Kelly, speaking to BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback programme, said that the couple tying the knot didn’t have a clue what was going to happen.
“Normally local people know I sing at weddings, funerals or when I’m asked, but they didn’t know – the bride Leah is from Dublin and the groom Chris is from Cookstown in County Tyrone,” he said.
“I enjoy singing but I wouldn’t want to do it full time – I love what I’m doing as a priest”
“They were having their reception at a hotel about 10 miles away and chose our church.
“We had the rehearsal on Thursday evening and at the end I said, ‘sure maybe I’ll sing an aul song for you myself’ – Leah grinned and said ‘OK sure’ but I don’t think she was taking it too seriously.”
Fr Kelly changed the original lyrics to make them more suitable for a wedding. It begins: “We join together here today, to help two people on their way.”
Hallelujah, first released by Leonard Cohen in 1984, found even more popularity with Jeff Buckley’s version ten years later. It is now one of the most covered songs of all time.
The video was filmed by a company owned by County Tyrone man Patrick Rushe, who said he was amazed by the reception it has received online.
The happy couple are now honeymooning in Mexico, but have seen the link and know how popular their singing priest has become.