National Convention a Huge Success

By Michael McCormack and Ned McGinley

More than 2,000 AOH and LAOH delegates, selected by their peers from all over the United States, assembled at Turning Stone Resort and Casino, on land that was once home to the six nations of the Iroquois Federation near Syracuse, New York, to hold the 96th Biennial Convention of their 176-year old Order.

On Monday an Opening Mass began the proceedings, as always, with our Irish Catholic Heritage prominently on display celebrated by the Bishop Robert Cunningham. Immediately following the Mass the Icebreaker “Taste of New York” was the opening Reception. At the Icebreaker the CEO of the Oneida Nation, once one of the Six Nations of the Iroquois, Ray Halbritter greeted his guests, which is noteworthy in that this is not his common practice to bring a personal welcome. The State Senator Joe Griffo and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi were also there to welcome our delegates.

Tuesday began with an early morning joint session, which saw future convention site presentations as well as the two National Presidents speaking to those assembled. There was also a talk by Irish born, naturalized American Tom McGrath an Ultra Marathon, Solo Runner, who will be running 250 miles from his Pub, “The Black Sheep” in Manhattan, starting on July 20, through the Commodore John Barry Gate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis Maryland, finishing on July 28.

Following the joint session the AOH and LAOH moved to their general meetings and breaking down into committees to discuss the business of the respective organizations. There are so many things that interest our members Immigration, Charities, Political Education, Freedom for All Ireland, Irish History, Catholic Action, etc.

Tuesday ended with a night of Irish Musical entertainment by the Makem and Spain Brothers who were magnificent.
On Wednesday the reports back from the committees were followed by the nomination of officers in both A.O.H. and L.A.O.H. and contests for both boards proved once again that our Orders are alive and well by having contested offices in both Orders.

On Wednesday the Degree Teams of both Orders educated the non-degree members of the history, culture, and traditions of their respective Orders. The degrees were conferred on the acolytes with degreed members looking on. As expected the AOH Tara Court Degree Team from Long Island and the LAOH Trinity Major Degree Team of the Capitol District performed admirably.

Wednesday night was Irish Night and the Ladies Awards, which were greeted with standing ovations. The President’s Leadership Award went to Sister Phyllis O’Dowd of Suffolk County NY and the Columban Fathers and Sisters received their biennial generous gift with another donation given to the Precious Life Home for battered women.

Thursday started early with elections for the AOH and LAOH Officers and more important meetings on Constitution changes and Resolutions in an effort to finish up while the voting continued. The afternoon was a bit tense as the results of the ballot count for the National Offices were awaited.

Thursday afternoon was the superb closing Mass celebrated by AOH National Chaplain Thomas O’Donnell of Pittsburgh. Immediately after the Mass, in the same room, the new AOH/LAOH National Boards were installed in front of the delegates to the convention. It is a beautiful ceremony that pledges the officers to the memberships and the members to their officers in all things constitutional and lawful.

The closing dinner was graced by the First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness, who spoke of the great help that the Irish America and especially the A.O.H. along with the L.A.O.H. had been in bringing the Peace Process and the Good Friday Agreement to the Six Counties. Fresh from shaking hands with the Queen of England, in a moment of reconciliation, he pledged to continue progress toward a United Ireland by all political and lawful means as stated in the Constitution of our Order.

The second award was the John F. Kennedy Medal voted by the AOH/LAOH to Labor Priest and College Professor as well as Past National Chaplain Father Patrick Sullivan who most recently led the Boston Diocese Labor Guild. Father is a member of the Holy Cross community and has taught at the University of Notre Dame as well as King’s College in Pennsylvania. The night finished with short talks by newly elected A.O.H. President Brendan Moore of NY and L.A.O.H. President Maureen Sheldon of Michigan.

The Turning Stone setting was idyllic with beautiful mountains and green everywhere. The facility is superb with a phenomenal major golf course and a pitch and putt within easy walking distance as well as tennis courts and a walking/running path around the whole resort. The gardens, grounds, ponds, and lawns truly add to the peaceful ambience. On top of all this there is a first class casino and entertainment.

The staff was courteous, generous, unfailingly polite, and industrious making our visit a true pleasure. The delicious meals and beverages were excellent, well served, and handled beautifully by a well trained and prepared staff. The CEO Ray Halbritter should be proud of his employees, the Oneida Nation, and the Turning Stone Resort.

Congratulations to Liam McNabb and Mary Leathem for a superb effort on the 96th Biennial Convention of the AOH/LAOH in America.

– Mike McCormack is the National Historian and Ned McGinley is a past National President


2012 AOH and LAOH National Convention Information

Call Turning Stone Resort & Casino 1-800-771-7711
Mention “Ancient Order of Hibernians” for Room Rate $115 per Night
Secured room at “The Hotel”, “The Tower” and “The Inn”
Rate Available for Sunday the 8th – Thursday the 12th

Monday, July 9th – Icebreaker Reception “Taste of New York”
Enjoy “Taste of New York” buffet, complimentary beer and Irish Music
Tuesday, July 10th – Free Night
Check for more information
Wednesday, July 11th – “Irish Night” Dinner
“Irish Night” Dinner Offers – Yankee Pot Roast, Chicken Bianco, or Pork Loin
Complimentary beer & table wine, music by The Cunningham Brothers
Thursday, July 12th – Installation Banquet
Installation Banquet Offers – Filet Mignon, Salmon or Chicken Marsala
Complimentary beer & table wine, music by The Cunningham Brothers
(all dinners include, soft drinks, salad, dessert, coffee & tea)
Use Attached form to Register and Purchase Events

NO coolers allowed in the hotel
Beer & Liquor will be available at the events and in the Hospitality Suites
Turning Stone prohibits transporting of beer & liquor through the Lobby

Please contact the Concierge Desk at Turning Stone directly 1-800-771-7711

The AOH/LAOH Gold Outing Monday, July 9th
Shenandoah Gold Course on Turning Stone Grounds
Registration Form

Opening & Closing Mass
Daily Mass – at the hotel

Syracuse Hancock International Airport (only)
Please contact Maura McSweeney, Transportation Coordinator with your flight schedule in advance
For coordination of shuttle service ( or 518-222-4162)

Mention “Hibernians” for special rates
Shuttle Service available among all hotels and Turning Stone Resort

Fairfield Inn & Suites at Verona (315) 363-8888– includes deluxe continental breakfast
$115 King or Double Queen, $125 Extended King Suite

LaQuinta Inn & Suites at Verona (315) -231-5080 – breakfast included
$109 Kings, $119 Double Queen & $129 Triple Occupancy


Click Here To Download This Form

Click Here To Download The Registration Form

Click Here To Download Journal Ad Form

Click Here For Tickets for the Makem and Spain Brothers on July 10th

2012 National Convention

The 2012 Convention Committee comprised of the AOH and LAOH Divisions in Albany and Syracuse is working diligently as we plan for an enjoyable convention at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in scenic upstate New York.

The days of the week for the 2012 convention do not follow the traditional convention schedule we’re accustomed. Our convention schedule is as follows:

Monday, July 9th- Opening Mass followed by the “Taste of New York” Icebreaker

Tuesday, July 10th- Free Night, enjoy one of three events organized by local committee

Wednesday, July 11th- “Irish Night”

Thursday, July 12th- Closing Mass followed by Installation Banquet

Rooms can be reserved now by calling 1-800-771-7711 and mentioning “Hibernians” for our convention rate of $115 a night. Hotel accommodations for our event can only be made by telephone. Please note that hotel rooms are available for our event in many areas of Turning Stone Resort. Specifically, we have secured rooms at “The Hotel,” “The Tower” and “The Inn” (near main resort site). Descriptions and location of each of these areas is available online at Free Wi-Fi is available throughout Turning Stone.

In addition to Turning Stone, we have reserved rooms at nearby hotels that include the Fairfield Inn, The Microtel and LaQuinta Inns & Suites. These hotels are across the street or near the entrance to Turning Stone Resort. Shuttle services will be available from each of the hotels to Turning Stone on a regular basis.

The “Hibernian” room rate of $115 is also available on Sunday night for anyone arriving early. Hospitality Suites for your state/region can be reserved by contacting me directly.

The Local Committee is organizing a golf tournament scheduled for Monday, July 9th at the Shenendoah Golf Course as well as “Free Night” events that include a tour of Irish pubs in downtown Syracuse, dinner boat cruise on Skaneateles Lake and Irish music at Turning Stone. More information regarding the golf tournament and “Free Night” events will be sent out with registration information.

Families are welcome to attend the National Convention as Turning Stone has indoor/outdoor tennis courts, three golf courses (one PGA certified), racquetball courts, pools and spa/treatment services. Nearby attractions include many beaches, parks, the Fort Rickey Game Farm, Children’s Museum (Utica), Fort Stanwix and the Boxing Hall of Fame. The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is 60 miles away and the Hall has offered Hibernians a discount to the Museum.

Please contact me with any questions at (518) 489-1752 or via e-mail at

2012 National Convention – Turning Stone, NY

New York State will host the 2012 National Convention at the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, NY.

About the casino – taken from Wikipedia:

Turning Stone Casino and Resort is a resort owned and operated by the Oneida Indian Nation in Verona, New York. The facility opened July 16, 1993 and offers golf amenities (on- and off-site golf courses, one of PGA quality, and an indoor golf dome), an RV park, an arcade, many restaurants, a confectionery shop that sells many types of baked goods and desserts, table games (Poker, Blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker, Pai gow poker, Let It Ride, Roulette), and many types of digital slot machines. Until the Seneca Niagara Casino opened, it was the only land-based casino in New York. The resort is a popular tourist destination in central New York State.

The convention will take place on Monday July 9, 2012 – Thursday July 12, 2012.