.

AOH History

.

 

.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

.

.
.
.
.

AOH National Constitution - Updated 2011


AOH History

The Ancient Order of Hibernians is a Catholic, Irish American Fraternal Organization founded in New York City on May 4th, 1836 at New York's St. James Church. 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 A.O.H. is a separate and much larger organization.

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 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.

.
USA Flag embroidered with AOH
Silver Plume Division, Colorado

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 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.

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.

"Friendship, Unity, and Christian Charity"


Dia 's Muire dhuit!

Please contact us to find out more about the AOH, or to find out how to become a member.


Emblem of the Ancient Order of Hibernians

The emblem of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in American is as pictured above with the crossed flags of Ireland and America behind it.  The flags are not part of the emblem, since they are already symbols of another entity.  Prior to 1937, when the tricolor of Ireland was adopted, Ireland was represented by the flag of the United Irishman, adopted in 1798, showing a gold harp displayed on a field of green.

The artist who conceived the original emblem of the Order is unknown, but his choise of layout and devices are, in many cases, unmistakably evident.  The emblem is a shield, horizontally divided into three fields, with the significance of three relating to many Irish tenets from the mystical appeals of that number in Celtic mythology to the Holy Trinity itself.

The top field of the emblem depicts the sun rising over a new Ireland, a device not uncommon to Irish and American crests, shields and newspapers logos.  The apperance of the initials A.O.H. in the glow of that sunrise indicates that the A.O.H. is a part of that new dawn.

The center field shows another common device of two hands clasped in friendship denoting Hands across the Sea, and representing the original links between the A.O.H. in Ireland and the A.O.H. in America.  The proper display of this device is a blue sleeve extending from the left (America) and a green sleeve extending from the right (Ireland).  The left and right positions correspond to the geographic east-west relations of the two nations.

The lower field contains a harp flanked by shamrocks.  The harp is the official emblem of Ireland, and as such should be the Brian Boru harp.  However the harp of the Irish Brigade of France, with the figure of a woman in front, is often used to represent the Wild Geese.  The number of shamrocks flanking the harp varies, and while 16 per side would be valid representation of Ireland's 32 counties, it is not always possible to depict that many.  The significance of the shamrock is obvious.

Four shamrock's also adorn the outer edges of the sheild to represent the four provinces of Ireland.  Some presentations show the lower shamrock inverted.  Since an inverted device indicated trouble, this has been explained as representing Ulster, but given the age of the emblem it is more likely that it was simply presented that way so all the stems would connect to the shield.

© AOHColorado, 2011