The late Dr Tom Ryan (right) with the late Terry Wogan and Mayor of Limerick in 2007, Joe Leddin.

Death of RHA artist, Dr Thomas Ryan

Limerick native lived in Ashbourne

The death has occurred of the artist, Dr Thomas Ryan of Ashbourne, the former president of the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) in Dublin.

A highly regarded artist, designer and medallist, Thomas Ryan was born in Limerick in 1929 and was educated in the Limerick College of Art and what is now the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, where he studied under well-known artists such as Sean Keating and Maurice MacGonigal. His medallic work included designing the old Irish one pound coin and the millennium fifty pence piece. During his ten-year presidency of the Royal Hibernian Academy, he undertook the massive task of successfully completing the unfinished RHA Gallagher Gallery in Dublin.

He worked in a variety of media, including oil paints, watercolours, charcoal, pencil and red and brown chalks. Some of his portraiture subjects include Ronnie Delaney, Dr Patrick Hillery, Seán Keating and Éamon de Valera. His work ‘Flight of the Earls’ and ‘GPO1916’ are two of the country’s most important historical works. Thomas Ryan has been living in Ashbourne for some 45 years.

In 2007, he was honoured in his native city when he received the Honorary Freedom of Limerick along with broadcaster Terry Wogan. Conferring the Honorary Freedom on both men at the time, Mayor of Limerick, Colr Joe Leddin said it was reserved for well known statesmen who have made a unique contribution to the common good, or natives who have brought credit to the city by their contribution to the common good. "These men have both excelled and reached the highest levels in their challenging careers and in spite of their tremendous success, both men have never forgotten their roots and have always promoted their native city at every opportunity," Mayor Leddin said.

Dr Ryan died on Wednesday at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown. Predeceased by his brother Eamon and grandson Finn, he is survived by his wife Mary, family, Pearse, John, Ann, Myles, Eavan, and Aengus, 16 grandchildren, daughters-in-law, Richelle, Amanda, Christine and Nicola, sons-in-law John and Sasha, sister Nuala, brothers Justin and Denis, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, Aunt-in-law, relatives and friends.

Dr Ryan will be reposing at Ryan's Funeral Home (A84CX52) from 5pm to 7pm this Thursday evening. Funeral Mass on Friday morning in The Church of The Immaculate Conception, Ashbourne at 11.30 am. Burial afterwards in Donaghmore Cemetery. Strict Covid Restrictions will be in place at all times. The Funeral attendance will be limited to 50% of Church capacity.

The Funeral Mass can be viewed live on