Born in 1929. Thomas Ryan attended the Limerick School of Art, then the National College of Art in Dublin, where he studied under Seán Keating and Maurice Mc Gonigle.

In 1957 he first exhibited at the RHA and became an associate member in 1968. He has had many commissions for portraits and he is also well known for his sensitive still-life paintings and for his Irish historical scenes, especially those of the 1916 Rising. He has exhibited at the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Dublin and was President of the RHA from 1982 to 1992.

• Designer of Irish coins and Medals;
• President, Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts, 1982 – 1992;
• Chairman, RHA Trust;
• Honorary Member, Royal Academy, London and Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh;
• Governor, National Gallery of Ireland, 1979 – 1982;
• Honorary Member, The Water Colour Society of Ireland;
• President, United Arts Club, Dublin;
• President, Limerick Art Society; Associate, National College of art & Design;
• Board Member, Stamp Design Committee, An Post;
• Founder Member, European Council of National Academies of Fine Art (Madrid);
• Council Member of Friends of the National Collection of Ireland;
• Knight of the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem;
• Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem;
• Doctor of Letters; University of Limerick;
• Freeman of Limerick.