What Is A Hibernian?
The Ancient Order of Hibernians is a Catholic, Irish American Fraternal Organization
founded in New York City 4 May,1836. The Order can trace its roots back to a parent
organization, of the same name, which has existed in Ireland for over 300 years. However,
while the organizations share a common thread, the North American A.O.H. is a separate and
much larger organization.
The Order evolved from a need in the early sixteen hundreds to protect the lives of
priests who risked immediate death to keep the Catholic Faith alive in occupied Ireland
after the reign of England's King Henry VIII. When England Implemented its dreaded Penal
Laws in Ireland, various secret social societies were formed across the country. These
groups worked to aid and comfort the people by whatever means available. Similarly, the
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America was founded May 4th, 1836 at New York's St. James
Church, to protect the clergy, and church Property from the "Know Nothings" and
their followers. At the same time the vast influx of Irish Immigrants fleeing famine
issues in Ireland in the late 1840's, prompted a growth of various social societies in the
USA - the largest of which was, and continues to be, the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
Active across the United States, The Order seeks to aid the newly arrived Irish, both
socially, politically. The many Divisions and club facilities located throughout the U.S.
traditionally have been among the first to welcome new Irish Americans. Here, the Irish
culture -- art, dance, music, and sports are fostered and preserved. The newcomers can
meet some of "their own" and are introduced to the social atmosphere of the
Irish-American community. the AOH has been at the political forefront for issues
concerning the Irish, such as; Immigration Reform; economic Incentives both here and in
Ireland; the human rights issues addressed in the MacBride Legislation; Right-To-Life; and
a peaceful and just solution to the issues that divide Ireland.
The Order has also provided a continuing bridge with Ireland for those who are generations
removed from our country. The AOH sponsors many of the programs associated with promoting
our Irish Heritage such as the IRISH WAY PROGRAM.
You may further seek admittance to the FINEST Irish Catholic Organization in the World --
all we would ask is for you to live our motto of:
Unity, and Christian Charity".
Dia 's Muire dhuit!
|Membership in the Ancient Order of
Hibernians, Inc. is confined to men 16 years and older who are practical Roman Catholics
of Irish birth or descent and who are citizens of United States of America or who have
declared their intentions to become citizens of the United States of America.|
You may also find a little more history at the Catholic Encyclopedia which was written c.1908. It is a nice primer on the early days of Hibernianism in both Ireland and the United States.
Back to Main Page
[Officers] [Special Events] [Spa Calendar] [Cap Dist Cal] [John Barry] [Catholic Action] [Member Links] [Photos]