Florida News

Condolences go out to the Families of John Kenny and Mike Walsh both whom passed away last month.  Mike was a State VP and John was a past Division President for Pinellas 2.  Both were officers in the defunct AOH Pinellas 1 when I first joined in ’92.  We will miss these great Hibernians.

The AOH FL State Board is having a State Convention on October 29th, 2011.  The location will be at Cocoa Beach, FL.  The address and date have been posted on the State Website. 



3901 North Atlantic Avenue

Cocoa Beach, Florida 32931

Phone: (321) 783-2221 * Fax: (321) 783-0461



We also ask all divisions to get sponsors to help build a Convention journal.  Treasurer Jack Marshall has provided us with a Convention Ad form with the breakdown of the journal page prices.  Please return them no later than October 14th to Jack.

Our AOH South Florida Organizer John Pesce and I represented the State of Florida and our Noble Order in New York City on May 21st for the Anniversary Mass.  We had a great time in New York City on May 19-22, 2011 celebrating the 17th year anniversary.  Upon arrival at the Metro Doubletree Hilton Hotel on Thursday May 19, I went to the Empire State Building, walked through Central Park, and stopped and said a prayer at the New St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  On Friday, I took a Ferry Boat to Liberty Island and walked up the 304 steps to the Crown of the Statue of Liberty.  Then I walked through the museum in the pedestal of the Statue.  The Ferry Boat took us to Ellis Island and I could look up a couple of my ancestors.  Friday evening, all the AOH/LAOH National Board Officers and State Presidents were guests at a reception given by Noel & Nora Kilkenny at their Penthouse Apartment.  Noel Kilkenny is the Consul General to Ireland.  On Saturday, we met in Little Italy to warm up for a parade to march to the Basilica of the Cathedral of Old St. Patrick’s for the 175th Anniversary of the AOH.  That was a GREAT Mass and afterwards a Reception at the School across the street.  There was food and music within a crowded open-air terrace.  I took a cab to Wall Street and then the subway to my hotel.  Finally, I went on a tour of the museums by Central Park including the Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History.  I came home early on Sunday Morning. 

Florida President Sean Denny with Nora and Noel Kilkenny at the New York reception.


Director’s Report

As we enter the most wonderful part of the year to celebrate our Irish heritage, let us not forget that not all people have the same enthusiasm as we do.  We must continually be vigilant to fight against those who defame our heritage.  U.S. Presidents have proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month throughout this country since 1991. For as long as March has been declared Irish-American Heritage Month, we have been battling those who choose to ridicule or stereotype the Irish people. As AOH members it is our duty to let these people and companies know it’s simply not acceptable to misrepresent the Irish. They wouldn’t think of it for any other nationality and they shouldn’t for the Irish.

Do you want to learn about the Irish in the West?  Author David Emmons new book is Beyond the American Pale – The Irish in the West 1845-1910.  The Irish were not supposed to be in the west and yet they were an integral part of America’s westward expansion.  It was the prospect of a job mainly in the railroad and mining industries that brought them west.

As Emmons says the Irish called them “two-boat Irish.”  They initially landed in a seaport city and their second vessel either wagons or railroads took them West. My grandparents were “two-boat Irish”. My grandmother, Julia O’Neill left her home in West Cork Ireland in 1898 as a young lady with $15 to her name.  Her first site of the United Sates was the Statue of Liberty as she came through Ellis Island.  Her second vessel, the railroad, took her westward to her final destination of Butte, Montana. The men knew if you got to Butte you had a job.  Marcus Daly, one of the copper kings and from County Cavan would hire you to work in is mine.  That is why in 1900 Butte had the highest concentration of Irish than any other American city.  Of Butte’s population, 26% were either Irish-born or children of Irish-born.

That is why the AOH was so strong in Montana in 1900 and why it remains that way to this day. The synergy of the AOH Divisions in both Montana and California is apparent because of their strength.  That cannot be said of the all the West.  We have unique situation with AOH Divisions in Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Oregon, and Arizona. They are isolated from Divisions in other states. For example Portland’s closest AOH Division is in Montana and that is 660 miles away. This does not make these Divisions any less important to this organization.  As a national organization we must support all our Divisions across this great country.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my Hibernian brothers and sisters a Happy St. Patrick’s day.