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The Monastery

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Music Ministry Together is held on the campus of Mount Saint Joseph Abbey. Mount Saint Joseph Abbey, Roscrea, was founded by the Cistercians of Mount Melleray Abbey in County Waterford. The property known as Mount Heaton Demesne had been purchased for them by Arthur J. Moore MP of Mooresford House near Tipperary town. Moore was a devout and committed Catholic landlord, who was to become a Papal Count. He was well known to the monks at Mount Melleray and even though he was a very young man, was desirous of establishing another Cistercian monastery in Ireland. The property cost £15,000, £10,000 of which Arthur Moore paid himself. The remainder was raised by mortgage by the new community.

In 1879, the year after coming to Roscrea, the building of the new monastic church was commenced. The architect was William H. Beardwood, who practiced in Dublin and Manchester. The stone for the Church was quarried on the land. Several of the monks , as well as a large contingent of outside masons and labourers, worked on the building.

On 18 September 1881 the Church was dedicated and opened to the public – an extraordinary achievement in such a short period. Only three years later, 9 August 1884, the Church was solemnly consecrated, by which time altars, choir stalls, and rood screen were all in place.

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Mount Saint Joseph was constituted an Abbey at the end of 1886, and in August 1887 the monastery buildings were completed and the fine farmyard begun. From the beginning, farming provided the main source of income for the Community, many of the monks being deeply involved in this work.

As time went by the strength of the community at Mount Saint Joseph led to the foundation of other monasteries not just at home, but also much further afield. The first foundation was made in 1946 at Nunraw, on the slopes of the Lammermuir mountains, about 25 miles from Edinburgh. This was the first Cistercian house in Scotland since the Reformation. Roscrea achieved another ‘first’ in 1954, when a foundation was made in the archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia. Bolton Abbey, Moone, County Kildare, became Roscrea’s first Irish foundation in 1965.

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