President Boyle Addreses AOH on the 175th

The 2011 President’s Dinner was held in Philadelphia on October 8, and all who attended raved about the grand event. Also at the dinner, the presentation of the Sean MacBride Award was made to the highly deserving Clara Reilly.

National AOH President Seamus Boyle addressed the dinner’s participants, and his speech is reprinted here.

 

“Rev. Clergy, distinguished guests, National, State, County and Division officers of the AOH and LAOH, family and friends, and especially our recipient of the prestigious Sean MacBride award, Clara Reilly, thank you for attending this evening’s festivities.

I know many of you have traveled quite a distance, both from here in the States and Ireland so I hope you enjoy your night and have a safe trip home. (It’s not over yet, that is usually said at the end of the speech).

As most of you know, this year is our 175 Anniversary of the formation of the AOH in America and we did have a great celebration in New York City in May, which many of you attended. This Anniversary celebration that has been ongoing throughout 2011, took over a year of hard work on the part of many people to accomplish. I would like to single out two people, Ed Wallace, chairman of the Anniversary Committee, and Mike McCormack, who was responsible for the beautiful Souvenir Journal that is on your table tonight. I think we owe a round of applause to both of these gentlemen.

It is almost 14 years since I was elected to the National Board of the AOH and I must say it has been one hell of a ride. Although I have had many great times, there were also some sad times that came with the positions I held. Some great friends in the organization have passed on, as have some of my own family, and it is at times like this that I miss them most.

Tom Gilligan, Past National President, who encouraged me to get involved and run for office, told me it was a piece of cake, but Tom always did exaggerate. And my brother, Mike, told me I was nuts, but he meant it. The people I have met on my travels throughout this great country of ours have treated me with the utmost respect, whether they agreed with my policies or not, and I have remained friends with many of them.

The Board that I have worked with over the past 4 years has supported me in all my decisions, and I have always included them in making these decisions because I have learned that one man cannot run a ship by himself. Your Board has made great strides and has made many decisions that may not have been popular but it is easy for one to make popular decisions, but a lot harder to make the right decisions, and as far as I am concerned we have made the right decisions over the past 4 years.

For 174 years, our organization has had no registered Trademark or Copyrights to our name or logo. But today, thanks to our Legal Counsel George Clough, we are now registered. We have contracted with Harris Connect, at no cost to us, to do a history of the AOH, by the AOH members themselves, telling their story about their state, county or division or their own personal story of how they came to be in the area where they now reside. Our online edition of the Hibernian Digest has been a great source of information to our members. We are now in the process of gathering emails and updating our membership list so as to save time and money on communications. There are so many other things that we have done as a board but most of you know what has been accomplished and I will leave it at that. The board we have today is one of the best boards I have ever worked with and they continue to serve you in a most effective way.

Tonight is a night to celebrate. Celebrate our heritage with the music from the Willie Lynch Band. Celebrate our Religion, which we just did at our beautiful Mass celebrated by our National Chaplain Fr. Tom O’Donnell and our two Deputy Chaplains Fr. Reid and Fr. Pearce, not to forget the beautiful voice of Louise Donnelly, our vocalist.

Celebrate a woman who has fought for many years for peace and justice in Ireland, Clara Reilly. Celebrate our history by reading the history in our Anniversary Journal and educating our friends, family and especially our children of the history of our ancestors. Celebrate our health by being able to be here tonight with our friends and family and celebrate our peace in Ireland, fragile as it might be but much better than it was even 15 years ago.

I would like to thank all of you for attending the festivities tonight, especially all of my family from here in the States and from Ireland. My relatives from Ireland who came here for the wedding last week, about 12 of them, are like grandchildren: I like to see them come but I love to see them go back — and that works both ways when I go back they feel the same, here he comes when is he leaving. My children, Mike and Tara, Bronagh who was married last Saturday and is on her honeymoon and opted to miss this affair, but most of all my wife, Berna, who puts up with me all of the time but especially when I ask her, can you pack a bag for me quick, I forgot to tell you I am going to Montana or Georgia or someplace else in the morning. Thank you all especially you, Berna, have a great night, enjoy the band and have a safe trip home.

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President’s Message

It is my pleasure to report that the Spring Board meeting weekend in East Durham was a tremendous success and was perhaps one of the best attended in a long while. As I announced at the Board Meeting; the entire weekend was dedicated to N.Y. State’s celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the A.O.H. The Jim Hayes Memorial golf outing was a great success raising funds for our Austin V. Carew Scholarship Fund. It was necessary for a change from one golf course to another nearby course at the last minute as a result of a very rainy week in the Catskills. Our meeting was held on Saturday morning at the Shamrock House where much business of our Order was conducted in fine form with the pleasure of having a number of National Board officers present. Of course our own Brendan Moore, National Vice President and Tom McNabb National Secretary were present and gave very informative and inspiring reports. Also present was the National Director responsible for N.Y. State, Jere Cole who gave us both an update on Catholic Action activities as well as an update on the 175th Anniversary Commemorative Coin.

At the beginning of the meeting we also conducted a memorial service in honor of the 30th Anniversary of the Hunger Strike. Led by our State Historian Mike McCormack we stood in quiet remembrance of the ten brave Irish Nationalist who painfully gave there lives 30 years ago while on hunger strike for truth, justice and to see all Ireland free. We then shared in prayers and heard each of the names of the ten souls. The State Board also produced a memorial prayer card commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Hunger Strike that has been distributed to all jurisdictions. The card was created by F.F.A.I Chairman Tim Miles and Mike McCormack. These cards were widely distributed throughout the State and are still available by contacting Tim Miles.

In light of both of these significant historical events I called on all jurisdictions to sponsor local 175th Anniversary celebrations of some form as well as conducting a memorial service for the 30th Anniversary of the Hunger Strike. As a result I have been receiving many reports of these events and I encourage all jurisdictions that have not yet done so, please schedule and conduct both of these events soon.

Of course the National Boards celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the Order was held in New York City on the weekend of May 2022. There were a number of events held and I would like to congratulate two of our own who were tapped to organize the weekend. Ed Wallace who was the general chairman and was responsible for the entire event and Tom Beirne who was Ed’s right hand man in tightening down all the loose nuts and bolts. Hibernian leaders and Hibernians from throughout the country came here to mark the Anniversary. I recognize and thank all of our New York Hibernians who traveled from far and near to be part of the event.

Now all that’s left is for you to get your 175th Anniversary Commemorative Coin which can be ordered with the form that can be downloaded from our N.Y. State website at www.nyaoh.com or can it be purchased on line through the website. The coin will also be offered for sale at our Convention in Pearl River, Rockland County this July.

Speaking of our N.Y. State Convention, which will be held from Wednesday, July 13th to Sunday, July 17th, planning is very advanced as it should be and the reservations are coming in for all of the events. We have worked hard to put together an outstanding package which ranges from a Wednesday night ‘Icebreaker’ with a full BBQ Dinner menu to two great dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings. I assure you that you will not be disappointed with this Convention’s events. The Journal deadline has been extended to June 24th; I remind and ask all the jurisdictions to take a page in the journal to be part of the historical chronicle of the event as well as supporting the Convention. If you have any questions regarding the Convention kindly contact the Convention Chairman Warren Scullin (917-751-1661).

We are in the midst of the County Convention season and I encourage all Counties to consider carefully when electing your County leaders who will be in office for the next two years. They will have much work to do. I have been very fortunate to have traveled to many Counties to date to participate in there Conventions and to conduct the installation of the newly elected officers. I congratulate those officers and I look forward to being with you for your County Convention. Please make sure that you notify me of the date and time and I will make every effort to be with you.

As always, all the best to you and your families with prayers and best wishes from my family. Stay cool and I look forward to seeing you in Pearl River, Rockland County, July 13th – 17th to conduct the work of the Order in Convention and to share great Hibernian fraternalism with all of you.

New York News

Each August 21st on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Knock, a Mass is celebrated at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Middletown, New York. A crowning of Our Lady follows the Mass.  The following organizations participated in the celebration: Orange County Divisions 1, 3 and 4; Orange County Ladies Divisions 4 and 5 and the Orange County Irish American Society of Middletown Irish Heritage Festival.  Orange County AOH Div. 4 is named in honor of Father Emanuel Hourihan, O.Carm., the priest who was instrumental in bringing the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock to the site.

STATE PRESIDENT HONORED.

Charles “Chip” McLean, the popular president of the New York State AOH was honored at a testimonial dinner in his honor at the luxurious Staaten on Staten Island, New York.  Mike McCormack was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening and was his usual happy self as he introduced the County, State and National dignitaries who came to salute New York State’s President.  Past NY President, Mat Nelligan was also the recipient of the fifth annual Burns Hayes Award which was presented at the Dinner.  The Burns Hayes Award, named for two beloved pasta NY State Presidents, is the highest honor that the NY State Board can bestow.  Previous recipients have been Rev John Ahern, Tom McNabb, Mike McCormack and John Hennessy.

Frank Fox Division Holds Annual Collection

The AOH Frank Fox Div 16 and the Ladies AOH Div 16 are pleased to announce that their annual collection for Rosary Hill Cancer Center in Hawthorne and Hospice Care (Visiting Nurse Association) of Westchester/ Putnam will be taking place during the fall at area churches.  Since 1992 AOH Div 16 has donated over $168,975 to these two and other community organizations in northern Westchester County.  The AOH is deeply grateful to all who help support our collection. Div 16 meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. For further information or an application contact President William McCormack at email-wfmccormack@optonline.net. or Chairwoman Grace Murphy at 914-218-8874 or Chairman James McHugh at 914-232-3766.

Myles Scully Division 1 Yonkers supports Cancer Benefit for Yonkers Police Sergeant

The officers and members of the Myles Scully Div 1 of Yonkers attended a benefit for Yonkers Police Sergeant Roy McLauglin, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer.  The Division presented the organizers of the event with a $4,000 pledge of support.  The “10-13” Event (Officer Needs Assistance) was attended by thousands of supporters from across the community.  The all day event showcased live music, a sports memorabilia auction, and a performance by the Pipes and Drums of the Police Police Department, is the father of 4 young children and is facing ever increasing medical expenses as he fights this terrible disease.  “We were honored to help support Sergeant McLaughlin as he goes Emerald Society of Westchester County.  Money was also being raised to support brain cancer awareness, thru the sale of specially colored wristbands.  Sergeant McLaughlin, a 12 year member of the Yonkers through a very difficult time in his life” said Div 1 President, Kevin Ellis.  “We are just a small part of a much larger community effort to see him get through this.” The event was co-sponsored by the Yonkers Police Benevolent Association and the Yonkers Captains, Lieutenants, and Sergeants Association.  For more information or to make a donation, please contact Tom Phelan at (914) 525-2834.

Meredith McLaughlin, sister of Yonkers Police Sergeant Roy McLaughlin (center), with Division President Kevin Ellis and members of Division 1 Yonkers

New York State AOH Respects Life at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Members of the NYS AOH attended the annual Respect Life Mass held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on October 3rd, 2010.  NYS President Charles McLean and LAOH State President Meg Redling led the large contingent of Hibernians up the center aisle and were warmly greeted by Archbishop Timothy Dolan.  The large group consisted of members from all five boroughs of New York City, as well as from the surrounding suburbs.  In his homily, Archbishop Dolan reminded the congregation that the Right to Life was not only a right proclaimed by God, but is also a founding principle of the United States. He said “God saw a reign of life, not destruction; a kingdom of life, not extinction; a culture of life, not of death; that’s God’s vision”.  He also assured the crowd that the culture of life will ultimately prevail.  The mass was co-sponsored by the AOH and the Sisters of Life, a religious order founded in 1991 by the late John Cardinal O’Connor for the protection and enhancement of the sacredness of every human life.

Pictured (L – R) Tom Bierne (NY County Pres.), Meg Redling (LAOH State Pres.), Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan, Charles McLean (NYS Pres.), James Burke (NYS Secretary), John Pesce (Florida State Organizer), John Ellis, and John Hyland (Bronx County Board)

John Francis O'Rourke former five-term President of Division 19, Kings County, New York, married Joyce Gilroy of Staten Island on Sept. 11th, 2010 on Staten Island at the Hilton Gardens Hotel.

Nassau County Supporting Wounded Warriors

On Saturday, September 11th, Division 11th of Hicksville held its annual golf outing at the Rockhill Country Club in Manorville, Suffolk County.  Members of Division 11, those who were golfing and others assembled for some shared words and a moment of silence to remember the heroes who had fought and died in the 9-11 attacks. “Amazing Grace” played by Bob McCann of Div 15 on the bagpipes broke the morning air in tribute.  At the 10th hole, memorial and sponsor signs were set up for the golfers to pause at and reflect upon before teeing off. For the fourth year in a row, part of the proceeds from this event was set aside to be donated to the Wounded Warriors Project.  Division President Phil Baumgartner thanked all those who planned and participated in this annual event. Joseph Barry Council 2520 of the Knights of Columbus for the use of their facility, Recorder and Past President Harry Deegan for running this fundraising event, Bill Jankowski and his wife Carol for all of their golf event experience that helped make the day a success, the Kennedy brothers, Dan and Tom for cooking, John Kilganon, our bartender, Vice President and Past President Billy McGough for his assistance, and for all the golfers and sign sponsors for their support in helping Division 11 meet its goal in regards to raising money for the Wounded Warriors Project. To find out more information about this organization, click onto: WWW.WOUNDEDWARRIORSPROJECT.ORG

Nassau County holds 38th Annual Feis

Nassau County held its 38th Annual Feis and Irish Festival on September 21st at Molloy College in Rockville Centre. In addition to dancing, band, music, singing, art and soda bread contests, the Feis honored Irish Examiner Publisher Paddy McCarthy for his efforts of spreading Irish culture. Almost 2000 people attended this year’s Feis, which was considered one of the best put on in the county.

Nassau County President Mike Byrne introduces Paddy McCarthy with Nassau County Vice President and Feis Chairman Sean O’Rourke on the left and LAOH Nassau County President Mary Jo Walsh on the right. (Photo by John O’Connell)

Long Beach Irish Day

Over 30,000 people attended the 2010 Long Beach Irish Day and Festival, held on October 2nd in Nassau County, NY. Summerlike weather in early fall, helped the turnout as the streets were lined with green and vendors selling food and Irish memorabilia. The Day was sponsored by St. Brendan the Navigator Div 17 in Long Beach with representation from National, State, and County officers.

Members of the AOH get ready for the Long Beach Parade. (L to R) Parade Chairman Mike Sullivan, John King, NYS Publicity Chair John O’Connell, Joe Gleason, Hibernian Digest Online Editor Joe McDonald, Division 17 Jr. Past President Andy Healey, NYS President Chip McLean, NYS FFAI Chair Tim Myles, and Rich Hennessey.

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FFAI October fundraiser held at O’Reilly’s in New York City

Pictured (L – R) are FFAI Chair – Sean Pender, Nat’l Director Jere Cole, and Immigration Chair Dan Dennehy

Pictured (L – R) are Vince Tyer (Pearl River Pres.) Dermot Moore (Rockland Co. Pres.) Jim Burke (NYS Sec.) Jack Ryan (NYS VA)

Members of the AOH get ready for the Long Beach Parade. (L to R) Parade Chairman Mike Sullivan, John King, NYS Publicity Chair John O’Connell, Joe Gleason, Hibernian Digest Online Editor Joe McDonald, Division 17 Jr. Past President Andy Healey, NYS President Chip McLean, NYS FFAI Chair Tim Myles, and Rich Hennessey.

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NHD Winners Win Awards

Pat Maguire, Clara Cullen and Sean Murphy

Clara Cullen of Ada Michigan won critical acclaim and the top award at National History Day at the University of Maryland for her website on the Gaelic Athletic Association’s impact on preserving the Irish nation.  National Historian, Mike McCormack asked past Michigan State President Pat Maguire and St Patrick’s Division President Sean Murphy to make the presentation to Ms Cullen.  The presentation was made front of the Michigan State Capital at Lansing.  Clara’s Mother, Susan Cullen, and Grandmother Clara, attended the event where Pat Maguire presented the winning check of $1500 to Clara.

At the New York State Finals for NHD held at Cooperstown, NY, four young ladies from Connetquot High School captured top honors with a presentation of how Irish step dancing led to the development of Jazz Tap dancing.  They were Nina Franza, Dara Copolone, Brittany Holloway and Jacqueline Schrage.  National Historian Mike McCormack joined with Suffolk County AOH Historian Dr. Dave Ring to make the Award presentation.

You can see the winning website by clicking here.

Dr. Dave Ring, Mike McCormack, winning students, Principal Moran and Dr. Hillary Garland

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Building the Irish American Museum

In life it is said that the best ideas are the most obvious.  In the case of a small group of Irish Americans from Connecticut, their vision of building a national Irish American museum in our Nation’s Capital has been staring them in the face for years and now they are taking steps to make it a reality.  The Irish American Museum of Washington, DC will be a major cultural institution that will bring Irish-American history to life for visitors of all ages and for all American’s to see.       According to Carl Shanahan, a founding director of the Museum, The history of the United States is the history of Irish America and that history deserves its rightful place in our nation’s capital. He continued to explain that, The museum belongs in Washington to reflect the national character of our story; the Irish legacy is evident all across this country.

The museum will be one of ethnic identity and join the likes of similar museums in DC honoring African Americans, Native Americans, Jewish Americans and most recently German Americans.  The goal, according to Shanahan, is to explore the experience of the Irish people from immigrations through the evolution of their communities as well as to acknowledge their struggles and triumphs.  James Dougherty, another founding director, explained that The story of Irish America must be preserved and the story must be told. Every day a little bit of our history fades away. We must record and preserve that history before it is gone.

AOH National Historian Mike McCormack noted, How many times have we said I wish I could have been there to help during the Great Hunger, to fight with Pearse in the 1916 rising, to work with Michael Collins, or to lend a hand at any other crucial time in Irish history – but I was born too late.  Revise that thought!  We were born at just the right time to do all those things and more for to keep their memory alive for posterity is to aid them more than any aid they received in their lifetimes.  This museum is a critical effort and it’s what we are all about.  Now is our time to be a hero for Irish history.

Early plans for the museum include housing in temporary gallery space until a permanent building can be built; site locations for a prestigious permanent establishment are presently under investigation.  The museum will provide future generations of Irish-Americans with a proper sense of their history.  With very limited space for museums available on the national mall, the search will include property of historic significance in the early Irish history of Washington DC which also allows convenient access to visitors.

Education will be a key component of the museum to showcase 250 years of Irish-American history through innovative exhibitions, education and cultural programs.  This will be done in a state of the art facility designed to pay proper tribute to all those of Irish descent who played a role in the birth and development of the United States of America. The Museum will be a living and constantly developing entity. The core elements of the initial plan include exhibits of historical artifacts from the earliest Irish settlers up through the present.  Also included will be oral history projects recording the memories of individuals who contributed to the Irish American story; a library of donated and collected books, films, magazines, newspapers and recorded music; a historical research center; a genealogical research center; an auditorium for presenting plays and musical performances that tell the Irish American story and a gift shop where visitors can purchase books, films and other items of Irish American interest.  A cafeteria will serve quality food including dishes that would have been familiar to Irish immigrants.  A publishing department will also develop and publish books and films on the Irish American experience. Also planned is a state of the art cinema to present audio/visual material produced by the Museum and by outside sources on topics of Irish-American interest.

Raising money for such a facility and operation will take a significant amount of time and effort and it all began in 2007, when the Board of Directors of The Wild Geese, an Irish American cultural organization based in Fairfield County Connecticut, authorized its President and Vice-President to pursue the establishment of an Irish-American Museum as a standalone tax exempt organization.  They appropriated $30,000.00 as seed money to form the organization, and produce publicity material. The Wild Geese have subsequently granted an additional $5,000.00. The Museum has been incorporated and has been granted section 501(c)(3) tax exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service.  According to Patrick Flaherty a founding director of the Museum, the organization must raise $10 Million to build, maintain and endow the museum in perpetuity.  They are soliciting funds from numerous sources including corporate sponsors, foundations, governments and individuals.

More informational can be found at their website www.irishamericanmuseumdc.org which is also in the process of being expanded.

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