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Father Vincent Ryan was chosen leader of the religious sent by Dom Antoine, Abbot of Melleray, for this foundation. After many efforts to locate his community he accepted the offer of Sir Richard Keane, of Cappoquin, to rent a tract of barren mountain waste, some five hundred acres, subsequently increased to seven hundred. In the work of reclaiming the soil, they were assisted by the country folk.
In 1833 the corner-stone was laid by Sir Richard Keane, in the presence of the bishop and a large concourse of clergy and people. In 1835 the monastery was created an abbey, and Father Vincent, unanimously elected, received the abbatial blessing from Dr. Abraham, bishop of the diocese, this being the first abbatial blessing in Ireland since the Protestant Reformation. Abbot Vincent vigorously undertook the work of completing the abbey, but died 9 December, 1845.
His successor, Dom M. Joseph Ryan, resigned after two years. To Don Bruno Fitzpatrick, who succeeded as abbot in September, 1848, it remained to consolidate. He founded, in 1849, New Melleray Abbey, near Dubuque, Iowa, U.S.A., and, in 1878, Mount Saint Joseph Abbey, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, Ireland. He also founded the Ecclesiastical Seminary of Mount Melleray. Originating in a small school formed by Abbot Vincent in 1843, it was developed by Abbot Bruno and his successors. Abbot Bruno died 4 December, 1893, and was succeeded by Dom Carthage Delaney, who was blessed 15 January, 1894, and presided over Mount Melleray for thirteen years; his successor was Dom Maurus Phelan, solemnly blessed by Dr. Sheahan, Bishop of Waterford, 15 August, 1908.