Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH)

The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) is America’s oldest and largest Irish Catholic organization.

We are 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. The AOH voted to establish a Ladies Auxiliary at their National Convention in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1894. The first LAAOH Division was organized in 1895 in Minnesota. In 2004, the LAOH was incorporated as the Ladies AOH.

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.

To learn about the contributions of Irish men and women, visit the Americans All Heritage Honor Roll and these Legacy Partner homepages:
         Irish Immigrants Who Helped Shape America
         Irish Americans Contributions to Our Nation
         Irish Americans: Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians
                 Irish Americans: AOH Division 8 and LAOH Division 8/9           

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