Omaha division honors General John O’Neill’s Monument

Nebraska 1B

On the fine crisp morning of March 17, 2013, the AOH Father Flanagan Division of Omaha, Nebraska, was present to honor the monument of General John O’Neill.  In fact, every St. Patrick’s Day the Father Flanagan Division Honor Guard will accompany the oldest member, and the youngest member in laying the wreath. This year, 87-year-old Rodney Mark Bernard and 16-year-old Xavier Bradley answered the call of duty at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery.

General John O’Neill was born in Ireland on March 9, 1834 and died in Omaha, Nebraska, on January 8, 1878.  General O’Neill served in the Union Army during the Civil War and was famously known as the hero of Ridgeway.  O’Neill encouraged his fellow Irish to immigrate to the United States and to the state of Nebraska.  He was the founder of O’Neill, Nebraska, in Holt County.

During the last years of O’Neill’s life he organized forces to invade parts of British-controlled Canada.  O’Neill was hoping to capture and seize enough land to use to bargain for the freedom of people in Ireland that were suffering under the rule of Great Britain. His raids in Canada were not successful, but his undying spirit and love for his countrymen gained much admiration and notice. On October 28, 1919, an unveiling of General O’Neill’s Monument took place. Eamon de Valera, the President of the Republic of Ireland, was present.

Today the Father Flanagan Division of the AOH seeks to uphold the tradition to honor a true Irish patriot who is buried in their midst. Indeed, General O’Neill is an inspiration for all Hibernians. On his monument it reads: “By nature a brave man, by principle a soldier of liberty, he fought with distinction for his adopted country, and was ever ready to draw his sword for his native land. To perpetuate his memory this monument was erected by the Irish nationalists.  God Save Ireland.”

Pennsylvania News

Avoca Division held a Night at the Races on May 14, 2011. Over 125 people attended and had a great time. All proceeds will go towards our scholarship program.

Pictured (L – R) are the guys who worked hard all night taking bets. Mike Hopkins, Pat Hopkins, Jon McHale, James Brogan, James Doran, Robert Schwartz and Gene Philbin.

Thunder Hits Dingle!!

The Notre Dame Division in Montgomery County, PA Irish Thunder Pipes and Drums that hit Dingle in time for the Pan Celtic Festival. A total of seventy relatives and friends accompanied the band to Ireland.
For about half of the group on the trip was the first time to cross the pond to Emerald Isle. Several tours were set up on their six day stay and they were enjoyed by everyone in the group. And you talk about rain in Ireland. Well the weather was 60’s with only two spots of rain all week. People were getting sunburned.
The Irish Thunder together with the AOH Notre Dame Color Guard participated in the Pan Celtic Parade in Dingle were they were warmly welcomed back to the Dingle Pub. And the Best St. Patrick also came on the trip to parade in Dingle too! During their stay on one of the later nights, a wedding was going on at the hotel pub and the groom asked if the band could play at the reception. They got a taste of the band the night before so at around 1:15 a.m. the band came marching into the wedding party for a great night for everyone.

Changing of the Flags

Every year for the past four years the P.O. Danny Boyle Division has paid for and changed the Irish and American Flags at the Irish Memorial at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. They are raised on St. Patrick’s Day, and then retired on the day of the start of the Irish Festival at Penn’s Landing, being on June 5th of this year. The Division is celebrating their 20th year and always attends this event with their professional honor guard.

The members of the AOH Div. 88 honor guard pictured (L - R) Jim Coolen, Ed Greene, Dave Schofield, Bobby Joyce, Joe Sheck, Dave McDonough, Mike Fox, and Frank Brassell.

South Carolina News

We held our first joint AOH/LAOH social in the State in January. Some good conflicts e.g., Right to Life March presented even a greater turn out. All being said it was a great evening with a special Mass from our Chaplain Father Gahan.

Brother Neil Diamond is directing our activities in forming a Major Degree Team. They have been practicing and due to geographical considerations major parts will be performed by our Charleston Brothers. This team will be a great addition to our State. Two divisions in the Charleston area are working on the Major Degree – Charleston and Brian Boru.  Also, Greenville has formed an Honor Guard and congratulations to both teams.

For more than 10 years a festival labeled “Return to the Green” has been held in Greenville with about 3000 in attendance annually. The AOH has always participated to some extent but this year we will be a co-sponsor.

Our State Convention will be held in North Charleston on October 21 and 22.  All are invited.

With the 175th anniversary of the AOH in America it brings to mind a little bit of history in South Carolina. Our Myrtle Beach Division celebrated their 15th Anniversary. They are the oldest existing division in South Carolina; the second oldest is our Charleston Division. However, Charleston had a division dating back into the 1800’s and had as many as 3 divisions in 1900 still active in the 1920’s until folding in 1930. Some 15 years ago the State began growing again.

Expansion continues as we hope to add a 10th division this year in Sumter followed up by the Seneca-Walhalla. Expansion is great but we must continue to support the new divisions and make sure they remain active.

Our Brothers in Myrtle Beach have taken on a project of building and maintaining a Shrine to our Lady of South Carolina located in Kingstree SC. A lot of money and sweat equity from the Myrtle Beach brothers has made this happen. We are now raising monies to form an endowment in order that the Shrine will be looked after on a permanent basis.

The First Annual Tartan Day South Celtic festival will be held in Columbia SC on April 1st and 2nd. Honored Societies for the event are the Scottish Society of Armigers and the State Board of the AOH.  In addition to myself and the State Officers and members from across the State of SC, we will have our National President Seamus Boyle and the Honorable Paul Gleeson the Irish Consulate from Atlanta in attendance – a tremendous honor for all members of the State of South Carolina Ancient Order of Hibernians. A large thank you to Jim Nettles for making it happen.



Inauguration of the Basilica of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral: It was my honor to represent the National Board at the Inauguration of the Basilica of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral by Archbishop Timothy Dolan on Sunday, December 5. New York County President Tom Beirne wonderfully organized the AOH participation in this historic event at the request of the Archbishop and Monsignor Donald Sakano. The men of AOH New York and Westchester County Boards provided escort and security for the major historical event, the New York Archdiocese first basilica. Paid for with pennies donated by poor Irish immigrants and surrounded by walls built by the men and woman of the AOH defending their Cathedral night and day from destruction by the No-Nothings and Nativists, the ascent by Papal declaration to Basilica status gives Old St. Patrick’s even more significance to our Order. Through NY County President Tom Beirne’s coordination, the AOH was part of the majestic procession of Catholic Church leaders including Archbishop Dolan, Cardinal Egan and our National Deputy Chaplain Fr. Henry Reid. The Knights of Columbus provided an Honor Guard for the procession which also included the K of C executive board  and our AOH NY State President Chip McLean, NY State Secretary Jim Burke, NY County Vice-president Pat Brady, President Beirne, and myself. Both Cardinal Egan and Archbishop Dolan recognized the historical role of the Irish immigrants and the AOH and thanked us for participating in the Inauguration. Afterwards a reception was held and presented an opportunity for the men and women of the AOH to speak with the Catholic, civic and community leaders in attendance including Irish Consul General Noel Kilkenny and his lovely wife, Hanora.

Thanks to Sheila Gleeson of the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers: Best wishes and sincere thanks are extended to Sheila s she departs her position as Executive Director of the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers, For the past 5 years, Sheila has been invaluable in her assistance to the AOH on deportation and incarceration cases involving Irish immigrants across the United States. Her informative newsletters and bulletins on the CIIC website have set the standard on Irish immigration information. I know that Siobhan Dennehy, President of the CIIC and the Irish immigration advocates in centers across the US and in Ireland join me in wishing Sheila and her family the best in the future. Keep in touch, Sheila!

Thar Saile: We continue to support the efforts of Thar Saile to achieve a permanent solution to the immigration issues of former Republican political prisoners living in the U.S.  Thar Saile’s members fully supported the Good Friday Agreement and as yet the immigration status of many of their members remains in limbo. These men and their families, many of their wives’ and children were born in the United States and deserve your support and attention. Please visit their website to learn more or contact me to find out about ways you can help.

Proceed with Caution: We are all aware of the dire economic straights that Ireland shares with much of Europe and the U.S. Many young people both here and in Ireland face long term unemployment and as in the past Irish people look to the West as a way to escape economic turmoil.  I would like to remind the membership that we do not condone or encourage illegal activity. If you know of a person thinking of emigrating to the U.S., please encourage them to seek the advice of an attorney or immigration counselor before coming to the U.S. A useful website:

Ring in the New Year by resolving to be your Division’s Immigration Chairman: I close by wishing a happy and healthy New Year to one and all. Here’s to the creation of a safe, legal path of immigration for the Irish through legislative success in 2011! If you have not done so already please resolve to have an immigration chairman appointed in your Division, County and State Board and have them email, write or call me. Together we can begin to work on legislation and help secure a future for Irish American culture and heritage.

Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions about immigration, citizenship or legislation at Dan Dennehy, 22 Andre Lane, Cortlandt Manor, NY 10567, by email: or phone (914) 588-2710.

News from Vice President Maureen Shelton

To the right is a photo of the Daughters of St. Brigid Junior Division from Charleston, South Carolina as they prepare to board the Mt. Pleasant Christmas Parade float with the LAOH. The girls paid for 1/3 of the cost of the float themselves. Their division now has twenty members and is growing. The President of their division was selected Junior Hibernian of the Year at our National Convention this past July.

At this time we have Junior Divisions in Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, South Carolina and Pennsylvania.  These girls are our future– please support their efforts to follow our motto. They hold fundraisers through the year to promote the Junior LAOH and the money they raise helps them in their works of charity. Your Vice President will help you promote and start a Junior Division, so if you have interest in starting one, please contact her.

The St. Brigid Degree Team of Michigan served as the Honor Guard at the 175th Anniversary of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Corktown, Detroit, Michigan. The Anniversary Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Allen Vigneron. The Michigan Degree team also serves as an honor guard at the Sharing of the Green Mass every St. Patrick’s Day.  This mass benefits the needy in the Detroit area.