What is the Ancient Order of Hibernians In America?
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 and those Irish-Americans from generations
removed, both socially and 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: language, art, dance, music,
and sports are fostered and preserved. Newcomers can meet some
of "their own" and are introduced to the social atmosphere
of the Irish-American community. The A.O.H. has been
at the political forefront for issues concerning the Irish,
such as; Immigration Reform; economic incentives (both here
and in Ireland); Peace with Justice in a United Ireland; the
Human Rights issues addressed in the MacBride Principles Legislation;
Genocide Curriculum Legislation; freedom of religion; and Respect
The Order seeks to aid the newly arrived Irish and those Irish-Americans
who are generations removed from their country of origin. Many
A.O.H. Divisions bring children from the North of Ireland under
Project Children or other programs. The Order sponsors many
programs associated with promoting our Irish Heritage,
such as, one year overseas study scholarships at Irish Universities
and the Irish Way Program, Irish Studies programs at American
universities and scholarship at universities, like Notre Dame,
are also sponsored by the Order.
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:
"Friendship, Unity, and Christian Charity".