Concanen, Richard Luke (1747–1810), catholic bishop of New York, was born in Kilbegnet, Co. Roscommon, son of Luke Concanen and Mary Concanen (née Corr), presumably of small farming stock. In 1764 he entered the Dominican order at the Irish college of Holy Cross, Louvain. Soon he was called to Rome where he studied at the Dominican college in Minerva (1765–9) and then with his Irish brethren of SS Sixtus and Clement. He was ordained a priest in 1770, three years before the end of his studies. At SS Sixtus and Clement he held various conventual and academic posts from 1773, becoming regent of studies and later prior (1781–7). The brilliant student proved also to be an excellent administrator; his command of Italian enabled him to preach effectively and to serve for five years (1787–92) as a propenitentiary or confessor at St Mary Major's. On the retirement (1782) of his confrère Charles O'Kelly, he was called to succeed him as one of the six theologians of the College of St Thomas at the Minerva, founded by Cardinal Casanate in 1700. This post he held until 1808. He also succeeded O'Kelly in two other respects: firstly as assistant to the master of the order (resident at the Minerva) for the English- and German-speaking provinces, and secondly as the Roman agent of several Irish bishops, notably John Thomas Troy (qv) of Dublin who had lived with Concanen at Rome for several years. John Carroll (qv), bishop of Baltimore, and John Milner, the English prelate, also employed him as their intermediary with the holy see. While the various revolutions sweeping Europe destroyed most of the Dominican provinces under his care, he encouraged from 1803 the successful establishment of the order in the USA.
When appointed bishop of Kilmacduagh (1798), he declined to accept the promotion. Similarly, when postulated for Raphoe (1802) by the clergy of that diocese, he took steps to nullify the proposal. In the same year he succeeded in obtaining a papal bull confirming the congregation of Presentation Sisters in Ireland. In the USA, Baltimore was still the only catholic diocese. In 1808, thanks largely to Concanen's advice, four new dioceses were created and he himself named bishop of New York. A French embargo on shipping prevented his setting out for America. He died, frustrated and almost alone, at Naples (19 June 1810). The largest collection of his papers is in the Dublin diocesan archives.