Ancient Order of Hibernians
|Ancient Order of Hibernians|
|Motto||Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity|
|Formation||4 May 1836|
American fraternal order
|Headquarters||31 Logan Street,
Auburn, New York,
The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) (Irish: Sean Ordú na nÉireannach) is an Irish Catholic fraternal organization. Members must be Catholic and either Irish born or of Irish descent. Its largest membership is now in the United States, where it was founded in New York City in 1836. Its name was adopted by groups of Irish immigrants in the United States, its purpose to act as guards to protect Catholic churches from anti-Catholic forces in the mid-19th century, and to assist Irish Catholic immigrants, especially those who faced discrimination or harsh coal mining working conditions. Many members had a background with the Molly Maguires. It became an important focus of Irish-American political activity.
Background in Ireland 
The organisation had its roots in the Defenders and the Ribbonmen, Catholic agrarian movements of the 18th and 19th centuries. It emerged in Ulster at the end of the 19th century in opposition to the Orange Order. It was organised by Joseph Devlin of Belfast, who was Grandmaster by 1905. The AOH was closely associated with the Irish Parliamentary Party, its members mainly members of the party. It was strongly opposed to secular idologies such as those of the Irish Republican Brotherhood who were most unhappy at the re-emergence of this old rival 'right-wing' nationalist society.
From a membership of 5,000 in 1900, nearly all in Ulster, it climbed to 64,000 by 1909, complementing the United Irish League. By 1914 the order had spread throughout the country, mainly because of its utility as a patronage, brokerage and recreational association. As a vehicle for Irish nationalism, the AOH greatly influenced the sectarian aspect of Irish politics in the early twentieth century. In Ulster and elsewhere it acted as an unruly but vigorous militant support organisation for Devlin, Dillon and Redmond against radicals and against William O'Brien: O'Brien regarded himself as having been driven from the party by militant Hibernians at the "Baton Convention" of 1909.
After the 1916 Easter Rising the organisation declined outside of Ulster, its members absorbed into Sinn Féin and the Irish Republican Army. In many areas the organisation provided by the AOH was the nearest thing to a paramilitary force. Many republican leaders in the 1916-1923 period, among them Sean MacDermott, J.J Walsh and Rory O'Connor, had been "Hibs" before the formation of the Irish Volunteers in 1913.
The AOH is also significant as a link between the new nationalist organisations and the century-old tradition of popular militant societies. More directly, it lingered on as a pro-Treaty support organisation. Some Hibernians fought in the Irish Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. The quasi-Fascist Blueshirts movement of the 1930s may, in fact, have owed as much to the Ribbon tradition which it so much resembled as it did to continental analogies.
United States 
- The Ladies Auxiliary was formed in 1894 in Omaha, Nebraska.
- The LAOH raised $50,000 to build the Nuns of the Battlefield sculpture in Washington, D.C., which the United States Congress authorised in 1918. But the Irish American sculptor, Jerome Connor, ended up suing the Order for non payment.
- In 1982, in a revival of Hibernianism, the Thomas Francis Meagher Division #1 formed in Helena, Montana, dedicated to the principles of the Order and to restoring a historically accurate record of Meagher's contributions to Montana. Soon after, six additional divisions formed in Montana.
- The Brothers of St. Patrick Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America was established at Brother's of St. Patrick in Midway City, California in 1995.
See also 
- Knights of Equity
- List of Hibernian buildings
- Ancient Order of Hibernians Hall
- Fraternal and service organizations
- Banners in Northern Ireland
- Hibernian Rifles
- Molly Maguires
- Parades in Northern Ireland
- Friends of Irish Freedom
- David W. Miller Church, State and Nation in Ireland 1898-1921 pp. 209-15, Gill & Macmillan (1973) ISBN 0-7171-0645-4
- MacDonald, Sharon (1993). Inside European Identities: Ethnography in Western Europe. Berg. p. 155. ISBN 0-85496-888-1. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
- MacDonald (1993), p. 156.
- Rees, Russell (1998). Ireland, 1905-1925: Text and Historiography. Colourpoint. ISBN 1-898392-40-4.
- Garvin, Tom: The Evolution of Irish Nationalist Politics, The Rise of the Hibernians, pp.107-110, Gill and Macmillian Ltd. Dublin (2005) ISBN 0-7171-3967-0.
- Garvin, Tom: p.106 lines 25-26, p.107 lines 2-4
- Garvin, Tom: pp.107-108
- Garvin, Tom: p.108, lines 12-14
- Garvin, Tom: p.108, lines 28-32
- Garvin, Tom: p.109, lines 24-25
- Garvin, Tom: p.109, lines 33-35
- Garvin, Tom: p.110, lines 12-22
- Save Outdoor Sculpture! (1993). "Nuns of the Battlefield, (sculpture)". SOS!. Smithsonian. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
- Jacob, Kathryn Allmong. Testament to Union: Civil War monuments in Washington, Part 3. JHU Press, 1998, p. 125-126
- Benjamin Epstein (December 1998). "Willkommen! Bienvenuto! However you say it, if you've got a longing for that old county, join the club". Orange Coast Magazine (Emmis Communications) 24 (12): 129. ISSN 0279-0483. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
- Tom Garvin: The Evolution of Irish Nationalist Politics Gill & Macmillan (2005) ISBN 0-7171-3967-0 : Pages 105-110: The Rise of the Hibernians.
- Prof. R.V. Comerford: Ireland Inventing the Nation (Hodder 2003).
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