Celebrity Irish priest Fr Ray Kelly has called time on his career in reality TV.
The parish priest of St Brigid’s & St Mary’s parish in Oldcastle, Co. Meath, shot to fame in 2014 after a video of him singing a modified version of Leonard Cohen’s classic hit Hallelujah at a couple’s wedding went viral.
Since then, he has released an album, titled Where I Belong; reached the semi-finals of ITV talent show Britain’s Got Talent; and featured on the Irish edition of Dancing With The Stars.
However, Fr Kelly recently admitted reality TV doesn’t appeal to him.
“I’d never do a reality TV show again,” he told The Irish Mirror. “Sometimes doing something like that is kind of like a drug as well. You can get hooked on it and want to be doing it all the time.
“Maybe it is because you’re putting yourself out there and you’re in the media and all that. It isn’t something I crave towards at all.
“There are always the ones who make judgements. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done, they will want you to become what they want you to be rather than who you are.
“I enjoyed the shows when I did them but I have another life here, which is great. A lot of people during the Covid times were out of work completely, but I had another life to get on with as best as I could.”
However, Fr Kelly, who released his memoir, Hallelujah: Memoirs of a Singing Priest, in December 2019, said if he were to write another book he would like to focus it on his experiences on Dancing With The Stars.
“I really enjoyed it,” he said of his time on the show, while admitting that he did have to “unshackle” himself from the negative points of reality TV.
He said he had the full support of the Bishop of Meath, Tom Deenihan, when he told him about his invitation to feature on the show.
“He just said to be aware that there will be people out there who will bring you down and try to influence you and all that,” he added.
During his time on the dancing show, Fr Kelly received a number of death threats, which he reported to Gardai.
“I get an odd anonymous letter still coming into my email,” he said. “It just says stuff like ‘you’re a priest and you shouldn’t be this or you shouldn’t be that’.
“I just ignore it at this stage. I only get one or two of those emails in the last year. But for most people it’s history now.”
However, despite his retirement from reality TV, Fr Kelly’s musical career continues. His new album, Hallelujah Day, was released yesterday, 23rd April 2021.
Picture: Fr Ray Kelly on Ireland’s Dancing with the Stars. (RTE).