Our History

It has been described as “the smallest museum in Europe with the biggest gift shop”. It proudly houses some of the very first claddagh rings made by Goldsmiths Nicholas Burge, Richard Joyce and George Robinson these are from 1700-1800. It also displays the “worlds smallest claddagh ring” which is on the top of a tailor’s pin. Other exhibits include examples of rings at various stages of production, from wax blanks to the finished product and a selection of tools used during the process.

Thomas Dillon’s at no.1 Quay Street also presents to the public, at no charge, a beautiful collection of photos from the owner’s private collection of Old Galway. Artefacts of the cities past include stone axe heads from the stone age and relics from the penal times when the Irish were forbidden to celebrate their religion. Memorabilia from the famine and the years that followed show again a city that struggled as it grew and succeeded in the end in becoming the city that it now is. Galway is now a lively, exciting and prosperous city. Its modern efficiency blends well with its air of historical importance and it is a model of how past and present, Irish and Anglo-Irish, culture and industry, scholarship and technology, may be combined in one vibrant living space.

The Original Claddagh Ring is appropriately on sale in Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh Gold as it is one of the town’s symbols for its capacity for resurrection.