The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) in America was officially formed in New York on May 4, 1836 at St James Church. It was born in anger centuries earlier in Ireland, after successive invasions of those who tried to master the Irish and alter their Gaelic life style. Inflexible opponents like the Vikings were fought until their power was broken; others, like the Normans, were absorbed until they became as Irish as the Irish themselves. Through it all, the Irish maintained their language, traditions and religion.Today’s AOH, with its motto “Friendship, Unity, and Christian Charity, is the most recent link in the evolution of ancient Irish societies. Organized in Ireland for the purpose of defending Gaelic values and protecting Church and clergy, it is the successor to the secret societies of old. The early AOH in America remained a secret society, and little is known of its activities except that it provided a monetary stipend to immigrants who arrived as members in good standing from the Irish Order and assisted them in obtaining jobs and social services. Quite naturally, the early AOH divisions were nurseries for the preservation of Irish culture and traditions in America.In large measure due to the significant contributions of the Irish in defending the Union during America’s Civil War, the AOH became stronger. Also, as the militant support of their Church dwindled ,the AOH shifted its purpose to charitable activities in support of the Church’s missions, community service, and the promotion and preservation of their Irish cultural heritage in America. Today, they stand not only as the oldest Catholic lay organization in America, but as the largest Irish society in the world with divisions in Ireland and 49 of the United States.The AOH is partitioned into divisions, county and state boards, and is governed by a national board elected every two years. The division is the basic unit in the Order, and membership in a division is membership in the Order. Even county, state, and national officers maintain membership in a local Division. Annual dances, concerts, and parades sponsored by all levels of the Order raise millions for charity, while providing a showcase for positive contributions of the Irish to every walk of American life. Divisions usually support local charities within their geographic areas, while sending a portion of their monies to higher levels for support of state, national, and international charities.


In April 2001 the Michael Collins Division 11 of the AOH was formed in Hampton Bays. The formation can be credited to Dan Heaney, the division’s first president and 15 years charter members who undertook a Shamrock Degree in May 2011. This charter nucleus has grown to over l00 members. The Division holds their monthly meetings on the first Thursday of every month at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Hampton Bays. A Ladies AOH was formed recently and is now active with 80 members. The ambitious undertaking of hosting a St Patrick’s Day Parade is a testament to the enthusiasm and energy of this Irish fraternal organization.


Those interested in becoming a member of the organization should contact
John Ryan @ (631) 905-6051.