Distinguished visitor (January-April 2014)
Professor Ryan spent the 2014 Winter term in the Celtic Studies Program at St. Michael’s College as a CMS/PIMS Distinguished Visiting Scholar.
Professor Ryan is an archaeologist who served as Director of the Chester Beatty Library from 1992 until his retirement in 2010. He was President of the Royal Irish Academy (2002-2005) and Chair of the Discovery Programme (Ireland’s independent organisation for advanced archaeological research) 2001-2011and served on the boards of various state bodies. He was Keeper of Irish Antiquities in the National Museum of Ireland from 1979-1992. He is a warden of the Company of Goldsmiths of Dublin and was Master Warden for the period 2008 – 2009.
His research interests include early-medieval art and archaeology, ancient Christian metalwork, landscape history and early prehistory in Ireland. He is co-author with Frank Mitchell of Reading the Irish Landscape. His collected essays Studies in Medieval Irish Metalwork were published in 2002 by Pindar Press. He is the author of numerous research articles and monographs and editor of several books on archaeological topics and contributor to several exhibition catalogues including Treasures of Ireland, The Work of Angels (edited by Susan Youngs) and Leonardo: The Codex Leicester. During the time of his visit, his project was completing a monograph on the Derrynaflan Chalice.
He led the Chester Beatty Library to the awards Irish Museum of the Year (2001) and European Museum of the Year (2002). He has taught in University College and Trinity College, Dublin and in St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. He was appointed Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters by the Government of France in 2009. He was awarded the Frend Medal of the Society of Antiquaries of London for contributions to the archaeology of the Christian church and to the defence of the archaeological heritage.