Niagara Gazette


March 25, 2013

HIGGS: The Ancient Order of Hibernians is an all-year organization


Niagara Gazette — The first party in our city was held at the New York National Guard Armory on Main Street in 1983 where the attendance soon outgrew the facility and in 1994 it was moved to the Convention Center in the ballroom. Growing pains moved it to the main hall until it was sold to the Seneca Nation and reopened as the casino in 2002. The celebration continued at the Summit Mall in the old Hens and Kelly store until 2005 when it moved to the Conference Center Niagara Falls. As usual it was well attended this year, following “the shortest parade” which literally crosses Old Falls Street to the entrance door. Many prominent local citizens have been designated as the “Grand Parade Marshal” over the years. The local division participates in the Buffalo Irish Parade and has won several awards since 1970.

St. Patrick’s Day coincides with the annual birthday celebration of the city of Niagara Falls and time is allowed for a proclamation by the mayor and a traditional birthday cake. Our local party has become “the largest St. Patrick’s Day party in Western New York, gathering attendance over 3,000 when held on a weekend.

The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians is a Sisterhood of Irish and Irish-American Catholic Women. A national organization, it dates to 1894 when originally recognized as the “daughters of Ireland” in Omaha Neb.

In 1906 they because the “Ladies Auxiliary to the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America. The present name became official in 1984 and the local chapter was established in 1975 and officially incorporated in 2004.

Its primary purpose was to protect young Irish women and girls coming to America to help them secure employment, have opportunities to be with other Irish immigrants, find housing and keep them from becoming homesick. Today the focus is on fostering the ideals, history and traditions of the Irish people. Its patron saint is Saint Bridgid of Ireland.

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