Dungiven AOH hosts ‘historic’ event

St. Canice's AOH committee members Johnny McKay, Anna McCloskey, Enda Gallagher, John O'Kane and Diaraid McCLoskey.  (0808JB11)
St. Canice's AOH committee members Johnny McKay, Anna McCloskey, Enda Gallagher, John O'Kane and Diaraid McCLoskey. (0808JB11)

The Dungiven Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians is gearing up for a “historical” event which they hope will attract the participation of unionists and people from other traditions. 

St. Canice’s AOH Division 442 are hosting the 15th August celebrations in the town, which they estimate between 5-8,000 people wil attend. As part of a schedule of events, they are hosting an exhibition and talk to explain the history of the organisation and “let people know what we are about”, says secretary, Anna McCloskey. 

“We want to invite unionists to come and learn about us and what we do. Perhaps people from other traditions don’t know what we do. Maybe they just see us as being out marching two days of the year,and don’t know we are, what we stand for and our charitable work,” she told the ‘Journal’. 

“It’s a good opportunity to learn about us and ask about us. Hopefully they will go away and say ‘Oh I didn’t know that about the AOH’.”

The Division is hosting a display of AOH memorabilia, including photos, banners, sashes, instruments and literature alongside a talk on the history of the AOH and a question and answer session. The display will be held in St Canice’s Hall on Main Street, Dungiven on August 11 and 12.

Treasurer John O’Kane, a Hibernian since the age of 16, stresses the event is open to everyone. 

“A lot of people don’t know about the history of the AOH, what we have done in the past and as well as what we do presently and our aims for the future,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity and we are extremely keen to welcome all sections of the community and we will endeavour to attract as many people as possible from different religions and traditons and beliefs and backgrounds.” 

The Assumption Day AOH parade will take place on August 15 at 2.30pm sharp from Chapel Road in the town. 

“It’s a big day because it will be our first time to host the 15th August celebrations in,” says Ms McCloskey. “We have a good variety of bands, such as flute, accordion and pipe bands and members will have all their regalia on them. We estimate 5-8000 people for the parade and a good turnout for the exhibition in St. Canice’s Hall.” 

The St. Canice’s Division was formed in 2003, and has members ranging in age from 16 to 93. The Division also has an accordion band, with 25 members. 

“Its very applicable and the AOH is something that won’t become outdated regardless of the age you live in,” said Mr. O’Kane. 

He encourages as many people as possible to attend the exhibition or talk which he says is “good opportunity for an exchange of views with people of all beliefs and outlooks in our area”. 

“Everyone will be welcmed by St. Canice’s AOH,” he added. 

For information on the event, or if anyone has items of interest they’d like to loan wish to loan to St Canice’s AOH call Anna McCloskey on 07871248443 or John O’Kane on 07746236369.