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
The Society's historic mission of providing assistance to immigrants has remained constant, including providing individual aid to families, more general aid to people in Ireland suffering during The Great Hunger, employing an agent to meet incoming ships to help newly arrived immigrants find housing, employment and their family members already in the U.S., and more recently working, with other organizations to help candidates for U.S. citizenship complete the application process. During the late 20thcentury, over 1,000 citizenship applications have been processed and submitted to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
For over twenty years the Society has honored those who have provided exemplary service to immigrants at our Annual Silver Key Awards Reception. All funds raised at this event are used to aid immigrants in need.
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 authors and 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).