The Ancient Order of Hibernians is the oldest lay Catholic Irish-American organization in the United States. Founded in New York City on
May 4, 1836 as a fraternal and protective society, the Order had its roots in similar secret societies which had existed in Ireland for centuries defending cultural and religious values against the forces of bigotry. When the need for protection of Church and clergy diminished, the Order expanded its purpose to assist the Church's missions, support of local charities and promotion and preservation of Irish traditions in America.
This is Thomas J. Clarke Division Number 8, located in Centereach/Selden, Long Island, founded in February, 1967, and named for the founding pastor of the R.C. parish of the Assumption. In their first year they organized the Long Island Feis which was so successful that it became an annual event attracting competitors from all parts of the U.S., Canada, Ireland and has raised hundreds of thousands for charity. They are responsible for discovering the Long Island home site of Irish patriot leader Thomas J. Clarke and establishing it as a historic landmark, erecting a 20-ton obelisk quarried and engraved in Ireland and dedicated at the site in 1989. It is now the scene of an annual commemoration ceremony. The division purchased their own Culture Center in 1985, started a pipe band in 1989,and a library in 1994. Their center has hosted Irish language lessons, Irish history classes, bagpiping and drumming instructions, all free and has provided its facilities community groups from boy and girl scouts to senior citizens. The founding members of division 8 were visionaries. They were dedicated examples for today's members and left us a legacy to be proud of.
God bless them all !!