A fraternal order is a voluntary association of men who join together for a common purpose. Such groups often perform community service and many have their own secret rituals associated with membership. Although the late nineteenth century was in many ways the heyday of fraternal orders in the United States, many of the orders which existed then are still around, and some, like the AOH are still going strong.
Per our National Constitution, the purpose of the Ancient Order of Hibernians is:
(1) To promote Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity;
(2) To foster and sustain loyalty to country and community;
(3) To aid and advance by all legitimate means the aspirations and endeavors of the Irish
people for complete and absolute independence, promoting peace and unity for all Ireland;
(4) To foster the ideas and perpetuate the history and traditions of the Irish people;
(5) To promote Irish culture;
(6) To encourage civic participation;
(7) To encourage an equitable U.S. immigration law for Ireland, and to cooperate with groups
for a fair American Immigration Policy;
(8) To accept and support, without prejudice, the concept of free expression of religious
practice for the people of the world; and
(9) To protect and defend all life, born and unborn.
Neither did Éamon de Valera, one of the founding fathers of the Irish Republic! Though our ranks count many O'Connors and Kennedys, many of our members trace their Irish lineage through their mothers and so do not have "traditional" Irish surnames.
You are! Those legally adopted into a family of Irish ancestry are considered just as Irish as the family they have joined.
Women are not eligible to join the Ancient Order of Hibernians. However, they may join our sister organization, the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. In addition to collaborating closely on a variety of events and projects, the two organizations hold their biennial national conferences jointly.
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