In 1873, the City of Atlanta deeded a plot in Oakland Cemetery to the Hibernian Benevolent Society of Atlanta in memory of Father Thomas O’Reilly of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the Hibernian Rifles, for their service during the Civil War. One hundred and forty-nine years later the Hibernian Benevolent Society of Atlanta and the Irish community come together at the Sunday in the Park event at Oakland Cemetery to lay wreaths on the graves of those who paved the way for the Irish community we have here.
Founded in 1858 by a group of Atlanta merchants, the Hibernian Benevolent Society of Atlanta has approximately 130 members and promotes Irish culture in the Atlanta area. Its active membership is a diverse group of men and women of all ages. This same diversity is reflected in their trustees and officers.
The Society sponsored the first annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1858. The HBSA has also sponsored the annual Hibernian Black Tie Ball, the St. Patrick’s Mass, the Father O’Reilly Memorial, Hibernian activities at Oakland Cemetery, and numerous other activities.
HBSA will break ground soon on their Oakland legacy project at the Hibernian plot. They will add some beautiful stone benches, Irish statues, and carved insets honoring society members and friends. Next time you stop by Oakland, make sure to visit the Hibernian monument at the HBSA plot just south of North Public Grounds!
The Hibernian Benevolent Society of Atlanta regularly meets the second Thursday of each month. Visit their website at www.hibernianatl.com or their Facebook page @HibernianBenevolentSocietyAtlanta.