About Us

The Donegal Association of Philadelphia

The Donegal Association of Philadelphia is a Beneficial, Social, Charitable and Cultural Organization that was founded in 1888 and traces its roots back to County Donegal.   There are similar chapters in the United States and Internationally.

The Group evolved from a need in the late 1800’s to take care of immigrants who were in need of aid and comfort.   The vast influx of immigrants during those years prompted a growth of various Irish social societies in the United States.   The first formal meeting of this association was held on September 18, 1888 at the Lewars Hall, Ninth & Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia.   Officers were elected and plans were made for the first concert and Ball which raised $1500 and was sent to Father James McFadden of Gweedore for relief of suffering among his parishioners.

Today the Donegal Association continues to exhibit the spirit of beneficial, social, charitable and cultural values incorporated in our charter.   The association also actively participates in cultural programs such as the Philadelphia and Springfield, Delaware County St. Patrick’s Day Parades.   The annual Donegal Ball held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving remains the highlight of our social activities that includes the “Mary from Dungloe” pageant.  Throughout the year we award five (5) scholarships to children and grandchildren of our members.   In June we have the “Kathleen Meehan” scholarship drawing and in November we award four (4) “Donegal Ball” scholarships.  We also support Irish causes and various charities in the Delaware Valley.

Our monthly meetings are on the third Sunday of the month at the Irish Center/Commodore Barry Club, 6815 Emlen Street, Philadelphia.  We voice our opinions on different topics and discuss and pass motions, plan events and address requests for donations etc.  After the meeting we socialize, often having dinner at the Irish Center and enjoying the Irish music and dancing in the Fireside Room.   Membership application forms can be downloaded from this site if you wish to complete one and bring to our next meeting – we welcome new members.

Frank McDonnell, President

Activities of the Association

  • Monthly Meetings
  • Music @ the Irish Center
  • Cultural Pursuits
  • Genealogy Research
  • History of the Irish in Philadelphia
  • The Donegal Ball
  • Philadelphia Mary from Dungloe Contest
  • Membership Drive
  • Various Fundraisers