Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians from Ireland, Scotland and North America will converge in Co Down next week for the annual Feast of the Assumption celebrations.
Founded in the United States in 1838, the Ancient Order of Hibernians has its roots in the 16th century. It claims to be descended from secret societies that were devoted to protecting the Catholic religion and clergy.
To this day, it retains a strong traditional, religious and cultural element that is manifest in its parades.
There is a deeply ingrained Irish nationalist ethos in the order. It is necessary to be of Irish birth or ancestry to join it.
I myself am not a member of the AOH, INF or The Knights of St Columba
I have never felt the need to join any of these orders even though some of my family have. My Mother always maintained I wasn't Catholic enough.
I find these kinds of Orders especially the AOH to be contrary to my beliefs. They all seem to be very associated with the Old Catholic, Gaelic Ireland tradition.
I believe in a secular Ireland and don't feel these type of Orders do much as in some instances they are little better than the Orange Order.
I may be totally wrong as I am not an expert on any of these institutions.
What does everyone else think?