About Us

The Society was formed to help the unusual number of impoverished and displaced Irishmen, who had arrived in New York in the wake of the British evacuation. During 1784, and in subsequent years, they provided money, food, clothing and shelter to the less fortunate fellow countrymen. These were acts of personal and collective charity.

At first the Society's membership was limited to one hundred. By 1898 the number had grown to five hundred. And it is one thousand Active Members today.

It has been a long tradition to hold four meetings per year, with a social portion and entertainment.

The custom of yearbooks dates at least from 1897 to the present. But the first publication of proceedings of the Society goes back to 1860. The yearbooks contain the transcript of the meeting, the roll of members, and the Memorials.

By the 20th Century membership and invitation to the Anniversary Dinners were coveted. Charities became very formalized. Rather than the private donations to individuals and to families, the Society began giving to established charities.

Charitable Programs

In January 2020, The Board of Officers and the Committee on Charity recommended, and the membership ratified, the creation of a scholarship fund to be known as "The Friendly Sons Scholars Program". The inaugural class of 38 Friendly Sons Scholars were awarded scholarships to attend parochial schools in the City of New York at the elementary and secondary level for the 2020-2021 academic year.
To ensure best practices in the selection of recipients, The Society partnered with the Inner-City Scholarship Program to administer the selection of recipients and the awarding of scholarships. In addition to The Scholars program, The Society partners with Irish arts and cultural institutions. In January 2021, The Society announced a long-term strategic partnership with the Irish Arts Center, which has just finished a major construction project on a new headquarters on the far West Side. In recognition of this important relationship, The Society has become a lead sponsor of music education and special student performances programming at the Arts Center.


Speaker Highlights Through History

  • 1905
    Theodore Roosevelt

    26th President of the United States

  • 1909
    Woodrow Wilson

    28th President of the United States

  • 1922
    Honorable Alfred E. Smith

    Governor of New York

  • 1944
    Honorable Alfred E. Smith

    Governor of New York (Delivers his 16th and final address)

  • 1948
    Harry S. Truman

    33rd President of the United States