The Charitable Irish Society
The Oldest Irish Society in the Americas

The Charitable Irish Society

The Charitable Irish Society, founded in the town of Boston, A.D. 1737, was instituted for two purposes:

First: to cultivate a spirit of unity and harmony among all resident Irish and their descendants in the Massachusetts Colony and to advocate socially and morally the interests of the Irish people and their cultural heritage.
Second: to alleviate suffering, and to aid such of its members or other worthy recipients as by the vicissitudes of fortune might be deserving of its charity.

The Role of the Society

Working in collaboration with the Irish International Immigrant Center and the Irish Pastoral Centre, the Society organized seminars for the new Irish, providing vital information on employment, housing, education, finance, health, and the law. Since 1996, the Society has also played a major role in the "Catch the Spirit-Citizenship", a program that encourages Irish residents to become United States citizens. Workshops covering all aspects of the application process are offered by volunteers from the Society, the Irish Immigration Center, and the Irish Pastoral Centre at sites in Brighton, Quincy, Dorchester, and South Boston. Over 1,000 citizenship applications have been processed and submitted to the Immigration and Naturalization Service resulting in many applicants becoming United States citizens.

At Christmas, the Society collects toys and other items to be distributed to those in need. Again, the Society works through the Pastoral Centre and other organizations that are aware of individuals who can use this help.

It has been a tradition since the establishment of the Society in 1737 to host a St. Patrick's Day dinner, always on March 17, to celebrate the fellowship and good works of the Society. Speakers at the dinner have ranged from U.S. presidents to contemporary playwrights.

The Charitable Irish Society values its connections to Celtic culture and participates in activities connected to this end. The history of the Society is deeply rooted in the history of Boston and this country. The archives of the Society are housed in the Massachusetts Historical Society (1737-1920) and at the Burns Library on the Boston College campus (1920 - present).

Dear Friends,

      Please join us for The Charitable Irish Society’s
Nineteenth Annual 
Silver Key Awards Reception.  The recipients of this year’s Silver Key Award for outstanding service and generosity to our immigrant community members are: 

- Honorable Martin J. Walsh
- Mr. Ronnie Millar
- Ms. Winnie Henry

     The Silver Key Reception is the Society’s largest fundraiser of the year.  Contributions go to help immigrants in dire need of immediate assistance who have nowhere else to turn.  We make grants without regard to ethnicity, religion, or place of origin.  We are all residents of the same planet.

       There will be cocktails from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm during which you can bid on wonderful silent auction items, catch up with friends, enjoy the music of an excellent harp and congratulate our recipients.  The awards presentation will follow.

     Founded in 1737 by 26 men from Ulster, the Charitable Irish Society is the oldest Irish organization in the Americas. The Irish songwriter, Sean McBride, wrote of the proud Irish tradition of providing rest for weary travelers.  It is in this spirit that for over 280 years, the Charitable Irish Society has maintained our mission of helping those who come to these shores seeking a new life of freedom when help is most needed.  We all come from families who traveled here searching for a better life, and together our ancestors built the country we are lucky enough to inhabit.  The Society remembers those who came before, and proudly assists those come now.

     If you are unable to join us, but can make a tax-deductible contribution, we thank you for your generosity, which will go to those who most need it. 

     Go raibh maith agat agus Dia Beannachta√≠,

Chris Duggan

The Charitable Irish Society

Upcoming events

04/28/2018 9:00 AM • Symposium at Devlin Hall 101; Reception at Burns Library
05/25/2018 11:00 AM • Old Granary Burying Ground; followed by lunch at the Union Club of Boston, 8 Park Street, Boston

Charitable Irish Society

Your support allows the Charitable Irish Society to deliver emergency relief to immigrants in need.

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