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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Northern Irish platinum-selling group mark 50 years of harmony with farewell performances

The Priests Time to say Goodbye Tour 2024

2024 is a special anniversary year for The Priests.


Having performed their first musical collaboration in 1974 as schoolboys in St MacNissi’s College, they celebrate 50 years of an enduring musical association that has lasted throughout the intervening years to today.


Having achieved millions of record sales, received multiple awards, travelled the globe, and played countless concerts as The Priests, Fr Eugene, Fr Martin and Fr David have decided that this is an appropriate time to say farewell to performing as a group.



The trio have announced concerts at the end of the year which will celebrate their golden jubilee and close the door on what has been an unexpected adventure.


“When we signed our recording contract in 2008, we had a line put in it that said our music career would never encroach on our diocesan work. As times change, and we get a little older, this is becoming more and more difficult to coordinate. Our 50th anniversary seems the right time to step back from performing live as a group,” said Fr Eugene.



“These concerts will be a chance to express our heartfelt thanks to the very many people who have supported and encouraged us on our musical journey over the years”.


“We have had the time of our lives, it has been a dream come true”, says Fr Martin, “but alas, all dreams must come to an end”.


The singers

Said Fr David, “It has been the most unexpected of journeys, an experience we will never forget, with many highlights too numerous to mention. There is no doubt we will never stop singing, and we remain lifelong friends, but The Priests as a musical group, will end their voyage here”.


Fathers Eugene and Martin O’Hagan and David Delargy became known as The Priests when in April 2008 they signed a recording contract in front of Westminster Cathedral. The event featured in Sir Trevor McDonald’s concluding comments that very evening in the national news and subsequently in the international print media, even making the front cover of Time Magazine.



Their debut album, The Priests, partly recorded in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and released in over 40 countries, earned them a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the fastest selling debut album for a classical act in the UK, as well as gold and platinum discs for sales throughout Europe and Australia in addition to topping the classical Billboard chart in the USA.


The subject of a tv documentary charting their journey from the steps of Westminster Cathedral to the release of their first album and of two specials featuring their live concerts recorded in the cathedrals of Armagh and Liverpool, they self-authored a book, Soul Song, Reflections on an Unexpected Journey (2010).



Their first three albums, The Priests, 2008, Harmony 2009 and Noel 2010 were each nominated as Classical Album of the Year in the Classical Brit Awards. Suddenly, The Priests were sharing the red carpet with their heroes in the classical music world and attracting a fair amount of paparazzi attention.


The Priests have had the honour of performing for Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis, as well as for the late Queen Elizabeth II, The Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, (now King Charles and Queen Consort).

Queen's University, Belfast, the alma Mater of all three Priests who graduated from there in the 1980s, recognised The Priests’ unique and outstanding musical achievement at an international level by awarding them Graduates of the Year in 2009.


The Priests singers

The Priests continue to serve as full time priests in the Diocese of Down and Connor in Northern Ireland. Fr Eugene is Chancellor and Vicar General of the Diocese. Fr Martin, his brother, is parish Priest of Newtownards and Comber, while Fr David is Parish Priest of the Loughshore Parishes of Greencastle, Whitehouse and St James (incorporating Whiteabbey and Greenisland).


They are incredibly grateful to the unfailing support and encouragement they have received from the bishops and priests in Down and Connor Diocese and of the parishioners in those parishes where they have served over the years.



Income from music sales and concerts has funded their charitable trust, The Priests’ Foundation, which has helped build schools in Cambodia, Uganda and Thailand, and has also been used to help look after retired priests, the homeless and supply schools with music apparatus.


All three were mentioned in the Queen’s New Year honours list in 2020 and awarded MBEs in recognition of their contribution to Music and Charity in Northern Ireland.



The Priests Time to say Goodbye Tour 2024

Tour Dates:


Friday 27th September: The Lark, Balbriggan - Website | (01) 960 5400

Friday 8th November: Market Place, Armagh - Website | Tel: 028 38 521 823

Saturday 16th November: The Braid, Ballymena -Website| Tel: 028 2563 5077

Saturday 21st December: Guildhall, Derry - Website

Sunday 5th January: Ulster Hall, Belfast (with the Ulster Orchestra) -Website | 028 90 33 44 55


Tickets via venue or ticketmaster.ie



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