The inspiration for a Council of Irish Associations and Organizations in Bergen County started some 30 years ago with the idea that the various Irish organizations should join together to co-ordinate their activities and cultural events and plan for the annual celebration of St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland.
The organization’s first meeting, led by George P. Gunning, took place in 1980 in a small room at the Paramus Park Mall. George and members of the various Irish organizations of Bergen County met to discuss the possibilities of creating a Council. These organizations included the Bergen Irish Association and Ladies Auxiliary, Irish American Social Club, Clan na Vale, New Jersey Gaelic League, North Jersey Irish American Association, Police and Emerald Society, St. Joseph’s Gaelic Football Club, and the Shamrock Guard of Honor and Traditional Irish Musicians. The Bergen County Council of Irish Associations was formed and George P. Gunning served as its first President. The Council’s first St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held on March 14, 1982. The 2011 parade marked the Council’s 30th anniversary.
On November 25, 1995, The Great Hunger Memorial, honoring those who perished in the famine of 1845-1849, was erected outside the Bergen County Court House in Hackensack, NJ. The plaque was donated by the Council. Each year the Council holds a Great Hunger Commemoration at the Memorial.
In 2008 the Council was incorporated as The Council of Irish Associations of Greater Bergen County, Inc. We also received our Certificate of Assumed Name, doing business as (“DBA”) The Bergen County Council of Irish Associations.
In March of 2010 our application for tax-exempt status was approved. The council now operates as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.