Welcome to the home page of the Rockland County Ancient Order of Hibernians in America. From here you can find a list of county divisions, links to their web sites, a membership information request form, information on upcoming events, a list of other AOH sites and other information of Irish interest in Rockland County.
The Ancient Order of Hibernians in America, Inc. was organized in New York in 1836. It is the oldest Catholic lay organization in the United States. The original organization dates back to the 16th century in Ireland. It was born on the fires of persecution as a defense against anti-Catholic activities during and after the Cromwellian and Williamite wars. The Order evolved from a need to protect the lives of priests who risked torture and death to keep the Catholic Faith alive in occupied Ireland during the reign of England’s King Henry VIII and his successors. 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” political movement and their supporters. At the same time the vast influx of Irish immigrants fleeing famine 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 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 — art, dance, music, and sports are fostered and preserved. The newcomers can meet some of “their own” and are introduced to the social atmosphere of the Irish-American community. 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 today.
The Order has also provided a continuing bridge with Ireland for those who are generations removed from our country. The AOH sponsors many programs associated with promoting our Irish Heritage such as the Irish Way Program. Hibernians live by the motto: “Friendship, Unity, and Christian Charity”.
Again I welcome you to learn more about the Rockland County Ancient Order of Hibernians and encourage all Irish American Catholic Men to consider becoming a brother Hibernian.
James Russell, President Rockland County Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.