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Annapolis AOH

In 1980, a division of the Order was chartered in Annapolis, Maryland and was appropriately named the Commodore John Barry (see Attachment) Division in honor of the Irish-born "Father of the American Navy". It is officially designated as Anne Arundel County Division 1.
The Order has four official holidays: St. Patrick's Day, Independence Day, Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland Day (August 21) and Commodore John Barry Day (September 13), which has been proclaimed as such by the President of the United States.
Because of many interests in common, Annapolis, home to the United States Naval Academy and Wexford, Ireland, birth place of Commodore John Barry, have been designated "sister cites" by their respective municipal councils. A maritime city on the Irish Sea, Wexford is the closest point in Ireland to the European mainland.

ABOUT Hibernians in US

The primary purposes of the Organization are set forth in the preamble to its National Constitution:
1. To promote Friendship, Unity, and Christian Charity among members.
2. To uphold and sustain loyalty to the government of the United States of America by members living here in America, or whatever government under which its members may be citizens.
3. To aid and advance by all legitimate means, the aspirations and endeavors of the Irish people to complete and absolute independence.
4. To foster the ideals and cultivate the history and traditions of the Irish people throughout the world.
To be admitted to membership, an applicant must be of Irish birth or of Irish descent through either parent, a practicing Catholic, and at least 16 years of age.
What is the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America?
The Ancient Order of Hibernians is a Catholic, Irish-American fraternal organization founded in New York City in 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 Order evolved from a need in the early 1600s to protect the lives of priests, who risked immediate death to keep the Catholic faith alive in occupied Ireland after the reign of 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 AOH of America was founded May 4, 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 1840s prompted a growth of various social societies in the US - the largest of which was, and continues to be, the AOH. Active across the United States, the Order seeks to aid newly arrived Irish, both socially and politically. The many Division and club facilities located throughout the US traditionally have been among the first to welcome new Irish immigrants. Here, the Irish culture - art, dance, music and sports are fostered and preserved. 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 of issues concerning the Irish, such as: immigration reform, economic incentives both here and in Ireland, human rights issues addressed in the MacBride Principles legislation, Respect Life and a peaceful and just solution to the issues that divide Ireland. The Order has provided a continuing bridge with Ireland for those who are generations removed from our country. The AOH sponsors many of the programs associated with our Irish heritage, such as the Irish Way program. Members of the AOH come from all walks of life and social and economic backgrounds yet enjoy fraternal fellowship in our Irish heritage.
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AOH In Ireland

This organization grew up gradually among the Catholics of Ireland owing to the dreadful hardships and persecutions to which they were subjected. It is impossible to give the exact date of the foundation of the order in Ireland. Some authorities contend that the first impulse towards forming such an association was due to the publication of an edict against the Catholic religion by the Earl of Sussex (Thomas Radcliffe), who was made Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland in 1562. He prohibited all monks and Catholic priests from either eating or sleeping in Dublin, and ordered the head of each family to attend Protestant services every Sunday, under the penalty of a fine. Not only did the English begin a bitter persecution of the Catholics, they also confiscated the property of the Irish nobles. The prince Rory O'Moore with his companions took up the cause of religion and the protection of the priesthood as well as the defence of their dominions, and through their assistance the priests said Mass, on the mountains, in the valleys and glens, while "The Defenders", as they were called, acted as faithful sentinels to guard them from danger. The principality ruled over by Rory O'Moore was called Leix; it covered the greater part of Queen's County and part of County Kildare. The O'Moore's belonged to the Clan Rory of the Province of Ulster, and were descended from the celebrated hero, Conall Cearnach, who was the chieftain of the Red Branch Knights at the beginning of the Christian Era. This famous Rory O'Moore was victorious over the English forces in many battles during the reigns of Queens Mary and Elizabeth, and in consequence recovered the principality of Leix, which had been the property of his forefathers and which he governed until his death in 1578.

It is claimed that this Rory Oge O'Moore organized and founded Hibernianism in the year 1565, in the County of Kildare, in the Province of Leinster, and gave to his followers the name of "The Defenders". After the death of Rory, "The Defenders" rallied around the Irish chieftains, and after many glorious battles betook themselves to the mountains and defied the tyranny of England. In the course of time branches sprang up among the descendants in opposition to the Protestant organizations, such as the "Hearts-of-Steel", the "Oak-Boys", the "Peep-O'Day-Boys", the "Protestant-Boys", the "Wreckers", and finally the "Orangemen". The principal Catholic organizations were the "White-Boys", so called from wearing a white shirt, the "Rapparees", who received this designation on account of a half pike which they carried, and the "Ribbon-Men", so called because their badge was two pieces of green and red ribbon. In due time there arose also the "Terry-Alts" and the "Fenians". The spirit of these organizations gave rise to what is known in Ireland as the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Anyone familiar with the history of Ireland under English and Protestant domination will recognize that it was natural enough for such organizations to be formed among Irish Catholics. When the laws were made against the interests of the great mass of the people, it was the necessary to erect a barrier of defence. No doubt, some abuses were occasionally connected with the operation of these societies, but, in the main, they defended the religious and civil liberties of the Irish people.

While we have no authentic information as to when the Ancient Order of Hibernians was formally established under that title in Ireland, we know that, in 1836, certain Irishmen in New York, who desired to establish a branch of the organization in America, communicated with their brethren in Ireland, and received the following reply:

Brothers, Greeting: Be it known that to you and to all whom it may concern that we send to our few brothers in New York full instructions with our authority to establish branches of our society in America. The qualifications for membership must be as follows: All the members must be good Catholics, and Irish or of Irish descent, and of good and moral character, and none of your members shall join any secret societies contrary to the laws of the Catholic Church, and all times and at all places your motto shall be: 'Friendship, Unity, and True Christian Charity' * * *.

This letter concluded with the date: "This fourth day of May, in the year of our Lord, 1836", and it is signed by fourteen officers representing the organization in Ireland, Scotland, and England.

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