Orla is a qualified Funeral Celebrant

Orla is a qualified Funeral Celebrant

Orla tells us about her recent Funeral Celebrant training course with the Celebrants Collective and why she is so honoured to be a qualified Funeral celebrant where she can hear the many stories of a fully lived life, and to be the one trusted to hold space for a grieving family to craft and deliver the final ceremony of a loved one.

My Dad, who touched so many hearts and left a lasting legacy

My lovely Dad, Jim, died in 2014, after a long illness. He was a gentleman. He loved his life, his family, his friends. Etched on his gravestone are the words: Here’s to a good man, to the life he lived, the hearts he touched and the legacy he left behind. Those words get me every time.

In the hazy days following his death, we rallied together to plan his funeral. The Seniors of Ennis Golf Club donned their red jumpers in a standing guard of honour, all three of us kids eulogized our many characterizing stories of him and a gorgeous school friend of mine sang Frank Sinatra’s My Way as we bid our final farewell: I’ve lived a life that’s full. I’ve travelled each and every highway. And more, much more than this, I did it my way.

It really was some send off. We got such comfort from tributing to Dad in a way that was so him; warm, fun, celebratory. We told stories for days, cheered him through our tears and read each thoughtfully written card with appreciation and tenderness. More than 7 years later, I realise that those memories combined to help to patch my grief, so frayed it was in those early days.

‘I’ve been loving you a long time

Down all the years, down all the days

And I’ve cried for all your troubles

Smiled at your funny little ways’

The Pogues

Funeral Celebrant

I have been a Celebrant for close to 5 years. I really enjoy working with couples and families to design a celebratory ceremony reflective of them and of their occasion, be it a wedding, a vow renewal or a milestone ceremony.

Celebrants Collective Training

Just recently, I added Funeral Celebrant to this list, having qualified with the Celebrants Collective in March 2022. The training was surprisingly life affirming. Those I learned from were humble, wise, creative, professional and compassionate. I’ve experienced what it feels like to be trusted with ceremonies of marriage and renewal of marriage vows. It’s such a joy. The same goes for occasions of baby naming ceremonies and milestone ceremonies. It feels both moving and significant to be able to offer a family an alternative way to celebrate their individual occasion.

An honour and a privilege

I have come to think of funeral ceremonies in the same way; how meaningful it is to be able to support a family at the occasion of their loved ones final ceremony. What a privilege it is to carry out the requests of a family member whose wish it was to celebrate ‘my way’. What an honour to hear the many stories of a fully lived life, and to craft the ceremony with the one who is so loved at the very centre. To be the one trusted to hold space for the grieving family and to deliver the final ceremonial farewell is very special indeed. The thoughts of being in a position to provide a small bit of healing to a family, to add a stitch to their patchwork of comforting memories, leaves me so  thankful that this is my job.

‘So come my friends, be not afraid

We are so lightly here

It is in love that we are made,

In love we disappear’

Leonard Cohen

Contact details

If you would like to contact me to discuss a funeral or memorial service you can contact me on orla@coastalceremonies.ie or +353 87 9740546 and you can find out more about our Funeral Services here

Orla x