Biography - The Priests | Official Website

Go to content

Main menu:


The Priests' Biography


Personal Background

The Priests are a classical musical trio made up of three Roman Catholic priests from Northern Ireland.

Fr Eugene O'Hagan and his younger brother, Fr Martin O’Hagan, are originally from the village of Claudy, County Londonderry, with the family now residing in Derry. Fr David Delargy is from Ballymena, County Antrim.

All three have been singing together since they met in the 1970s as students at St MacNissi's College, County Antrim, and immediately realised their musical prowess as a singing trio. They were nicknamed "Holy Holy Holy" by their peers due to their shared determination to enter the priesthood. But it was a priest at their school who first noticed how talented they actually were.

After leaving St. MacNissi's, they followed their vocational training at The Seminary in Belfast. They also studied at Queen's University where Fr Eugene specialised in English and Scholastic Philosophy. Fr Martin and Fr David specialised in Ancient History and Scholastic Philosophy. During that time they all studied under the Belfast-based singing teacher, Mr Frank Capper MBE.



The Priests concluded their training at the revered Irish College in Rome where Fr Eugene studied for 7 years (specialising in Canon Law), Fr Martin for 5 years (specialising in Moral Theology) and Fr David for 4 years (specialising in Sacramental Theology and later on in Education).

While in Rome, Fr Eugene took advantage of the fact that he was able to have singing lessons from Maestro Sergio Ballani. Almost immediately their combined and rare talent was recognised: They were invited in person by the Pope's private secretary, Monsignor Magee (the Papal Master of Ceremonies) to sing for Pope John Paul II in the sacred liturgy on numerous occasions.

The Priests' careers overlapped once again as they all eventually returned to Ireland, where they began their work in various special ministries. Each now lives the life of a full-time Parish Priest, tending to the spiritual needs of his parishioners and official duties at all church services. These include christenings, marriages and funerals of members of their community.

The Priests are also founder members of the internationally acclaimed Belfast-based choir, Cappella Caeciliana (founded 1995), with whom they have recorded four albums: in 2001, Cantate Domino; in 2005, Sing for the Morning's Joy; in 2008, O Quam Gloriosum; and in 2014, Reflecting Light.



After signing a contract with Sony BMG in April 2008, the trio finally recorded their first album, with the unusual honour of having been allowed to record in St. Peter's Basilica, The Vatican.

Their debut album "The Priests" (2008) set a Guinness World Record for "Fastest Selling Classical Debut Album of All Times", surpassing even renowned stars like Luciano Pavarotti or Katherine Jenkins. Their album remained in the "Top Ten" in many countries for weeks in a row. In the 21 March '09 issue of The Tablet, it was stated that the album had sold more than 1 million copies in Ireland alone.

Their second album "Harmony" (2009) reaped gold awards in the UK and platinum in Ireland and Sweden. One of its songs, "King of Kings", also represented The Priests' highly successful compositional debut.

The trio's first book "Soul Song: Reflections On An Unexpected Journey" was released in October 2010, much to the delight of their fans.

Their first Christmas album, "Noël", was released in November 2010. It debuted at #3 on the US Top Classical Albums Chart and #18 on the Top Christian Albums Chart. In Canada, the album was #8 on the Canadian Classical Albums Chart.

In spring 2012, a "Best of" compilation album was released under the title of "Then Sings My Soul", to accompany The Priests' first big US Concert Tour.

In October 2016, The Priests’ long-expected fourth studio album “Alleluia” was released.


International Recognition

For three consecutive years - in 2009, 2010 and 2011 - The Priests were nominated for the internationally-acclaimed Classical Brit Awards for "Classical Album of the Year".

The trio has also been featured in two PBS performance specials that have been hugely popular among American TV viewing audiences. These specials are available on DVD: "The Priests in Concert at Armagh Cathedral" and "The Priests in Concert at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral".

The group's concert schedule does not follow the usual band format. Clauses in their contract emphasize the priority of their pastoral work in their respective Parishes, as well as in the Diocese of Down & Connor.

Nevertheless the trio completed several very successful concert tours of Europe, Australia and the USA in recent years and performed to sold-out audiences in major cities all around the world as well as during the 2009 NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade.

They fascinated the global media and graced the pages of some of the world's largest publications, ranging from Time Magazine and The Wall Street Journal to People Magazine, sharing sofa space and microphones with  TV hosts and radio presenters the world over.


Audiences and Stardom

Today The Priests are among the most recognized and successful acts in both the religious and secular worlds.

They have performed before audiences that included the British Royal Family and the Irish President.

In September 2010, The Priests shared a stage with Pope Benedict XVI before a crowd of 80,000 people in London's Hyde Park. Millions more watched on television.
In 2012 The Priests sang for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin and a live audience of 75,000 people.

In July 2013 The Priests also had the honour of performing for Pope Francis and 6,000 seminarians in the Vatican,
and in May 2014 they participated in a special Gala Concert on the “Occasion of the Canonization of two Popes” in Toronto.

In 2015 The Priests performed for the International Vocations Directors’ Conference in Rome and supported various charities like Habitat for Humanity NI or Jospice through major concerts in Armagh and Liverpool.

2016 saw them return to the USA to promote their new album “Alleluia”.

2016 and 2017 saw them return to the USA to promote their new album “Alleluia”. In 2017 The Priests additionally played several concert dates throughout Ireland.


The Priests Charitable Trust

The Priests' music directly benefits others. No ordinary superstars, these three men remain first and foremost committed to their vocation.

They donate the vast majority of their royalties to their charitable fund, which helps build schools in places like Cambodia, Uganda and Thailand. They also contribute funds to assist retired priests and the homeless.



Towards the end of 2011, The Priests were approached by a screenwriter who asked if he could write the story of their musical lives with a view to it being a film. 'Raising The Roof' is currently in pre-production in Hollywood and is set for release late 2018.


Record Sales

To date, The Priests have sold more than 3.5+ million recordings worldwide.



The Priests are:



Fr Eugene O' Hagan, born 1959, has been a canon lawyer, judicial vicar and parish administrator for many years. Currently he is Chancellor and Vicar General of the Diocese of Down and Connor.

Fr Eugene's motto: "To speak to the heart and soul through the gift of music and song."

Fr Eugene's hobbies, apart from music, include cooking, swimming, walking in the woodlands and enjoying the latest state-of-the-art gadgets.


Fr Martin O' Hagan, born 1963, has been a Diocesan Adviser in Religious Education for 13 years. He is currently the parish priest of the Parish of Newtownards and Comber, for the Church of St. Patrick and the Church of Our Lady of the Visitation, Diocese of Down and Connor.

Fr Martin's motto: "That the daily sowing of the seeds of faith, watered by God, will bear a great harvest for the future, calling on others to be part of the sowing."

Fr Martin's hobbies, apart from music, include cooking, gardening, walking, writing poetry and collecting antiques.


Fr David Delargy, born 1963, has spent seven years as a teacher of Religious Education and German at Our Lady and St Patrick's College, Belfast, and also was Chaplain to the University of Ulster at Jordanstown.

Currently he is the parish priest of Loughshore Parishes in Newtownabbey, for the Churches St. Mary’s (Greencastle), Star of the Sea (Whitehouse), St. James (Whiteabbey), and St. Colman’s (Greensland), Diocese of Down and Connor.

Fr David's motto: "To console, inspire, entertain and engender hope through priestly and musical performance ministry."

Fr David's hobbies, apart from music, include reading, walking, gardening, golfing and adventure sports.


"We have almost an innate language among the three of us.
It's hard to put into words. We know what the dynamic of the piece is,
and we have to learn to listen to each other, maybe to pull back a little bit
or to increase the volume. But, we just 'know'."

Fr Martin

Back to content | Back to main menu