Irish Americans: Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians

The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) is America’s oldest and largest Irish Catholic organization. It is made up of Irish and Irish-Americans dedicated to the promotion, protection and preservation of Irish culture and traditions in America.

Founded in 1836 in New York and Pennsylvania to defend immigrant Irish from intolerance by nativist Know-Nothings, they followed the Irish across the new nation providing welfare benefits to members and protection to their church growing, as they went, into a national organization.

The heroism of the Irish units in the American Civil War had America cheering for the sons of Erin in American uniform while the charms of Irish domestics were winning admirers on the home front. The result was a decrease in prejudice against the Irish, and the Know-Nothing movement, recognized for the bigoted group it was, faded away. The AOH, on the other hand, grew stronger as they worked their way across America. A Ladies Auxiliary was started in 1906 and incorporated as the Ladies AOH in 2004.

In more recent years, reduced anti-Catholic violence minimized the militancy of the AOH and allowed an increase in cultural and charitable activity. Today they support community charities of all religions and ethnic origins while preserving Ireland’s ancient heritage. Annual dances, concerts, and parades sponsored at all levels of the Order raise millions for charity while providing a showcase for the positive contributions the Irish have made in every walk of American life. Hibernian Halls across the country also provide a welcome for new immigrants where the unique interests of the Irish are fostered, making the AOH a home away from home for many. Contact us for more information.

Legacy Stories from the Americans All Heritage Honor Roll

We are pleased to host and share these legacy stories created by honorees’ family, friends and associates. They, like us, appreciate that heritage and culture are an integral part of our nation's social fabric and want to help students participate effectively in our nation's economy, workforce and democracy.

Last Name of Individual
First Name of Individual
Group name

Ancient Order of Hibernians "AOH" New Jersey (c.1836 - ?) Irish Fraternal Organization, American History

The Reformation that swept Europe in the 16th century was marked by conflicts over the practice of religion. Elizabeth I declared the Church of England the State religion, and although she considered Ireland part of her state, the Irish did not. As a result, Ireland became a battlefield in a campaign to reduce Catholic power. The persistence with which the Irish clung to their religion drove the Crown to extremes . . . 

AOH Division 8 and LAOH Division 8/9 New York (January 1967 - ?) Irish Fraternal Organization, AOH, LAOH

Suffolk County, Long Island, New York AOH Division 8 was organized in January 1967 by AOH NY State Organizer Jack Reynolds. Charter Officers were President Bob McGrory, Vice President Joe McCarthy, Secretary Bill Regan, Financial Secretary Ed Reynolds, Treasurer John Keane and Chaplain Father Sheridan. By November 1967, an enthusiastic group of ladies formed an Auxiliary with Nora Reynolds as President.

Honorable Brendan Francis Boyle Pennsylvania (February 6, 1977 - ?) Irish, Ireland, Catholic, AOH, Politician, US Congressman

Brendan Francis Boyle, born February 6, 1977 in the Olney neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA, is a Democratic member of the U.S House of Representatives. representing, since 2019, Pennsylvania's 2nd Congressional District. This district includes most of the northeastern fourth of Philadelphia. From 2015-19, he represented the 13th district. Prior to that, he was a member of the PA House of Representatives . . . 

Mike McCormack New York (June 8, 1938 - ?) Irish, Ireland, Author, Musician, Historian, AOH

Mike McCormack is a former columnist for the Irish Echo and feature writer for the Arizona Desert Shamrock, San Francisco Gael, Florida Irish American, Hibernian Digest, as well as St Patrick’s Monthly and Ireland’s Eye magazines in Ireland. He helped organize a Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and served as Secretary, Vice President, and President before his knowledge of Irish history earned him the post of Division Historian.