History of the Society
The origins of Boston’s Irish community stretch back to the early 18th century when considerable numbers of Ulster Presbyterians came to New England in search of economic opportunity and the religious and political freedom which the Penal Laws denied to Dissenters and Roman Catholics alike. Merchants and artisans of Ulster stock founded the Charitable Irish Society in 1737 with the express purpose of assisting fellow Irish immigrants in the traumatic process of settling in a strange new city and country. Now in its 265th year and the oldest Irish organization in North America, the Charitable Irish Society remains committed to its original Mission.
The Charitable Irish Society and the Ancient Order of Hibernians collaborates with the Irish Immigration Center and the Irish Pastoral Center in the “Catch the Spirit” Citizenship campaign that was organized by the national coalition of Irish Immigration Centers.
In an effort to recognize and encourage continued collaboration the Charitable Irish Society instituted in 1997 the Annual Silver Key Awards which honors ndividuals who have made significant contributions to the immigrant community. The award ceremonies will be linked with an annual fund-raiser and the proceeds will be dedicated to assisting various programs and individuals in need.