About the AOH

The Ancient Order of Hibernians is America’s oldest Irish Catholic Fraternal Organization founded concurrently in the coal-mining region of Pennsylvania and New York City in May 1836. The Order can trace its roots back to a series of similar societies that existed in Ireland for more than 300 years.

Today the AOH exists in America, Canada, Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland, however, the American AOH is a separate and much larger organization.

The early Irish societies were born of a need in the mid-1500s to protect the welfare of fellow Irish Catholics, and the clergy who risked immediate death to keep the Catholic Faith alive in occupied Ireland after the Penal Laws of 1691. These various secret societies were formed across the country to aid and comfort their people by whatever means was available.

The AOH in America was founded at New York’s St. James Church on May 4,1836 by men emulating these Irish societies, to protect the clergy and churches from the violent American nativists who attacked Irish Catholic immigrants and Church property. At the same time the vast influx of Irish Immigrants fleeing Ireland’s Great Hunger in the late 1840s, prompted a growth in many Irish societies in the United States – the largest of which was, and continues to be, the AOH.

Active across the United States, The AOH seeks to aid the newly arrived Irish, both socially and economically. The many divisions and club facilities located throughout the U.S. have traditionally been among the first to welcome new Irish immigrants. Here, the Irish culture — art, dance, music, and sports are fostered and preserved.

The  AOH has been at the 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.

If you are  Catholic and of Irish birth or descent, you can seek to join the AOH. Do you want to know more? Click here.