The Priests are a classical musical group, made up of three Roman Catholic priests all from Northern Ireland. Fr. Eugene and his brother Fr. Martin O'Hagan are originally from the village of Claudy, County Londonderry with the family now residing in Derry whilst Fr. David Delargy is from Ballymena, County Antrim.
The trio have been singing together since they boarded in the 1970s as students at St MacNissi's College, Garron Tower, County Antrim. After signing a deal with SonyBMG in April 2008 the priests, all from the Diocese of Down & Connor, recorded their debut album in Northern Ireland and Rome, with the unusual honour of having been allowed to record in St. Peter's Basilica, The Vatican.
2008: The Priests:
Their debut album featuring their most famous recording "My Lovely Horse" was produced by Mike Hedges and Sally Herbert. Mike Hedges has worked with, amongst others, U2, Dido and Manic Street Preachers. The eponymous album was released in Ireland on 14 November 2008 by Epic Records and has since been released worldwide in over thirty countries and preceded by an ITV documentary and PBS special in the United States. In December 2008, they scooped the Guinness World Record for 'Fastest-selling UK debut for a classical act'. The debut album turned 7 times Platinum in Ireland, and Platinum in UK, Sweden, Norway as well as going Gold in New Zealand, Canada and Spain. The group's concert schedule does not follow the usual band format as clauses in their bespoke contract places the emphasis on them continuing their pastoral work in their respective Parishes and in the Diocese of Down & Connor. In the 21 March issue of The Tablet, it is claimed that the album has sold more than 1 million copies in Ireland alone.
2009 - 2010 Harmony and Noel:
In August 2009, they began recording their second album, entitled "Harmony", under the same production team. It was released in November 2009 and has reaped platinum awards in Ireland and Sweden, where the album reached the No 1 spot in the Swedish charts just before Christmas 2009.
The trio completed a very successful concert tour of UK & Ireland playing to packed houses and ending with a homecoming concert in Belfast's Waterfront Hall. Their concert itinerary also took in two concerts in the Millennium Forum in the City of Derry, the first concert coinciding with the release of the Saville Report on Bloody Sunday. They noted that it was an auspicious day for the City and for the future.
The trio's first Christmas album, Noel, was released 2 November 2010. The album debuted at #3 on the US Top Classical Albums Chart and #18 on the Top Christian Albums Chart. In Canada, the album charted on #100 on the Canadian Albums Chart and #8 on the Canadian Classical Albums Chart.
Fr Eugene O'Hagan is Administrator of the Parish of Ballyclare and Ballygowan with two churches: The Church of The Sacred Heart and the Church of The Holy Family. Diocese of Down and Connor.,
Fr Martin O'Hagan is Parish Priest of the Parish of Newtownards and Comber with two churches: The Church of St. Patrick (Newtownards) and the Church of Our Lady of the Visitation (Comber). Diocese of Down and Connor.,
Fr David Delargy is Parish Priest of the Parish of Hannahstown with two churches: The Church of St. Joseph and the Church of St. Peter, the Rock, Diocese of Down and Connor.
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