Ancient Order of Hibernians


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 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.


The goal of Project St. Patrick is to fund grants and support the men and women who choose a religious vocation. Project St. Patrick is a joint Catholic Action program of the AOH and LAOH which was started in 1995. To date over $300,000 has been given out to needy seminarians and religious who are studying to serve our Church. Currently the National Board is reviewing the Program and trying to make adjustments that will make it more proficient. Funding for Project St. Patrick comes from outright donations from AOH & LAOH State Boards, County Boards and Divisions as well as from individual Hibernians to the Annual PSP Easter Appeal or throughout the year. Project St. Patrick Prayer cards are also an additional source of funding for this program. When a member, family or friend passes away a PSP Card is presented to the family.


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“Hibernians are expected to support those less fortunate than others through civic participation, by serving local food pantries, supporting homeless shelters, caring for the elderly, and supporting Irish and other immigrants.”

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Irish Heritage

“If you cherish your Irish heritage and want to be part of a larger Irish American community, the AOH is the place for you. Begin an experience that will enhance your life, awaken a pride within you in the Ancient Race of our fathers for our traditions, customs and for the Irish people and serve others in your community and country. Join us, we are the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America – Irish, Catholic, American.”

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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 AOH is a separate and much larger organization.

The AOH is one of the most comprehensive fraternal organizations in America. Open to Catholics of Irish birth or descent, the Hibernians embrace all things Irish. Founded to protect the clergy and support Irish immigrants, today’s emphasis is drawn from the AOH Preamble, which begins with “the AOH is to promote Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity.”  Click Here to join us and have fun.

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