NCAD Portfolio Results at long last!



(Throwback to Portfolio Viewing in the Studio in early March after NCAD deadline)

There was shock and excitement in the air last week for the Art Group B and Fashion students when NCAD emails started coming in! Due to Covid-19 results were due to come out at some stage in April rather than end of March as they normally would. NCAD usually send out result letters to students but again obviously due to administration constraints they had to email results to each student. The first arrived early and we had to wait throughout the day for students emails to arrive which wasn’t an easy thing to do! Working remotely from home added to the anxious wait while myself and the other teacher conversed via Microsoft Teams as results came in!

We are thrilled to say that 36 students from Art Group B and Fashion that applied to NCAD were successful in one or more of their chosen disciplines with the highest score of 882.5.  It is the highest number of students applying to NCAD we have ever had.

Nearly all results have been received at this stage with some students sitting with 3 or more options to choose from.  Every college applied to this year has deemed our students successful at the portfolio stage of application.  We are extremely proud of each and every student this year as yet again it proves that with hard work and determination they can produce a portfolio of work that represents them individually and is successful at the calibre that the 3rd Level Institutes expect.

The Art Group B and Fashion students have been successful applying to TUDublin, LSAD, CIT, NCAD, Belfast School of Art, Camberwell School of Art in London and we are awaiting results from IADT.

We would like the thank each of the 3rd Level Institutes of Art and Design for the fantastic grades and feedback that they have given our students.  The students are currently submitting final work for QQI assessments and these grades will determine whether they secure these college offers.  Most 3rd Level colleges of Art require a minimum of 5 Distinctions in a full QQI Award. Once grades are secured the next big challenge for them is choosing the course that best suits them!

Of course this academic year is ending very differently for the Class of 2020 than what we all would have hoped.  They have been a fantastic group to work with and certainly a memorable one.  Wonderful friendships were formed and hopefully will grow as the students start the next exciting chapter in their lives. We their teachers are immensely proud of what they have achieved this year and during these unprecedented times as they continued to engage with us remotely from home. It has been difficult and challenging at times but they managed to get to the finish line and it only highlights the determination to succeed and press forward.  We would like to take this opportunity to wish each student every success in their future careers and look forward to following their progression into 3rd Level wherever and whenever that may be! Stay focused, work hard and enjoy every minute of it!

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Some good news this week!


What a week it has been! It has certainly been a week of highs and lows for us in DIFE and especially in the Art Group B and Fashion Studios.  Corona Virus has struck Ireland and the decision was made to close all schools and colleges in the country to try and contain the spread of this awful virus.  With staff and student safety at the forefront the college will close until the 30th March.  Students were asked to bring all work home and staff have been asked to ensure lines of communication stay open to ensure the continuous teaching and learning for all learners.  It is unprecedented what is happening.

On a brighter note and maybe a bitter sweet note TUDublin released their portfolio results probably at the same time that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was making his announcement!

All of our students in the Art Group B and Fashion Group that applied to TUDublin received excellent results for their portfolio assessments with the maximum score of 600/600 achieved by many.  Students must achieve a score of 200 or more to be considered for the courses in TU.  Most of our students received 450 or more so there was great excitement in the studio.

Students have also visited CIT and LSAD and colleges in the UK this week so it has been quite a busy time for everyone.  Results from Cork have been phenomenal with all students receiving the maximum mark of 600/600.  The head of department made a point of contacting me to commend the high standard of work coming from our studios in DIFE and praised the students for the quality of their portfolios.

LSAD have also given students their portfolio scores and again we have been blown away by the fantastic scores.  Most students graded over 550/600 for their portfolios.  The challenge now is getting all the QQI Assessment work completed so that students can secure their college places for next year. We are extremely proud of all of our students this year.  They have worked especially hard to produce their portfolios and have proven that with hard work and dedication the possibilities are endless.

At present we are working through uncertain circumstances as a consequence of the evolving nature of Covid-19 and its implications for Ireland.  We will continue to follow instructions from the LMETB and the Department of Education.  We wish all our students continued health but also get the work done on those end of year ticklists!!

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Robert Ballagh LMETB Art Exhibition

Huge Congratulations to the DIFE winners of the Robert Ballagh Art Competition which was exhibited in the Droichead Arts Centre last night.  DIFE had 5 winners on the night.


Erin Moore: Awarded 2nd place in the Photography Category

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Karl Leonard: Awarded Merit in the Photography category


Denise Burns: Awarded 3rd in the Art Category


Rojelle Rodrigues: Awarded Merit in the Art Category


Megan O’Brien: Awarded Merit in the Art Category

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Portfolio viewing


We had a big tidy up in the studio this morning to showcase the wonderful portfolios of our current students to the Principal and Deputy Principals.

Students in the Art Group B and Fashion group recently submitted their portfolios to NCAD and are in the process of preparing them again for TUDublin, LSAD, IADT and Crawford in Cork with some heading to the UK too.

We have the TUDublin deadline next Tuesday and some students will be heading to Limerick so it is very busy!

We are very lucky to have fantastic support from our Management team in Dife and we are very grateful that they make time in their busy schedules to visit our studios and spend time chatting to the students. The students are very proud to show off all their hard work and its a great opportunity to practice their presentation skills.

We would like to thank Davy McDonnell. Margaret Donohoe and Barbara Cooney for their continued support throughout the year and wish all our students the very best of luck with their portfolio submissions. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for each and every student at this exciting crossroads in their lives.

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Best Further Education Provider 2020


We are delighted to announce that Drogheda Institute of Further Education have won this prestigious award at the recent National Education Awards hosted in Dublin.  We as staff are extremely proud of our College and what we do here.  It is a wonderful recognition for what we do and how hard everyone works together to get our students to where they want to be.

Management will take full advantage of this title now and I’m sure there will be great competition in going forward with the other Colleges of Further Education so we will have to up our game to keep this title!

Our Deputy Principal Barbara Cooney being presented with the Award.  Congratulations to all!

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NCAD Deadline Looming


Well we are into the last week in the studio before students head up to NCAD on Friday to submit for their first portfolio deadline of the year.  It has been a busy few weeks since Xmas and the students are focused and working hard to get everything completed on time.  CAO applications are done and we are getting ready for the upcoming portfolio drops throughout the country.  We have exceptionally high numbers applying this year so it has been hectic in the studio.


TU Dublin will be next and IADT shortly after that.  We have a few students interested in dropping their portfolios into LSAD in Limerick and also CIT in Cork so it will be interesting to see how everyone gets on.  We have one student just back from Amsterdam where he is applying to do his Fashion Degree and he had to complete both an interview and a project on the day.  We also have a student heading to Scotland and applying to the ever exclusive Heriot-Watt School of Textiles in Galashiels so very exciting times for all.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our students in the Art, Craft and Design Group B Group and the Fashion Groups the very best of luck in their applications to the various colleges of Art and Design.  We as teachers are very proud of all the hard work and dedication that you have put in to preparing your portfolios.  Lets get through this week!


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Surrealist Heaven: Magritte and Dali


The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium dedicate an exceptional exhibition to Salvador Dalí and René Magritte. For the first time ever, the connection and influences between the two greatest icons of the surrealist movement are highlighted.

Dalí and Magritte both aim to challenge reality, question our gaze and shake up our certainties. The Catalan and the Belgian show a fascinating proximity, despite their very different creations and personalities, which would eventually lead them to drift apart.In the spring of 1929, Salvador Dalí and René Magritte meet in Paris, surrounded by the great names of the artistic avant-garde. In August of the same year, at Dalí’s invitation, Magritte travels to Cadaqués, the Spanish painter’s home base. This surrealist summer – which also includes visits by Éluard, Miró and Buñuel – will prove decisive.

The exhibition reveals the personal, philosophical and aesthetic links between these two iconic artists through more than 100 paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, films and archival objects.

The exhibition continues until the 09/02/2020.  Well worth a visit!

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Chiharu Shiota: Me Somewhere Else: Brussels


Recent trip to Brussels and we came across this wonderful Textile installation by Chiharu Shiota.  Her installations transform the spaces in which they unfold and immerse the viewer into the artists world.  They combine textiles materials such as wool and cotton with various other elements, sculpted shapes or used objects.  Her highly acclaimed participation in the Venice Biennale where she represented Japan in 2015 confirmed the international scope of her work.

Me Somewhere Else (2018) is a very personal and powerful piece of work.  Shiota talks about her fight with illness and the certainty that her mind will survive her body.  ‘Before I was diagnosed with cancer I thought that if I die, everything about me is going to die.  I am going to disappear, but now I know only my body does, not my mind.  My mind remains somewhere else.  This feeling is difficult to explain and that is why I make art to understand this feeling and explain it to others.’

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Former Fashion Student visits


We had the lovely Eva Marie Flanagan visit us today in the studio to tell us all about her 1st year in NCAD.  Eva Marie was with us last year and was very successful in securing numerous college places throughout Ireland.  She had her heart set on Fashion in NCAD which is one of the most difficult courses to get accepted into.  She was successful in getting that precious place and is currently in her 1st year of study.

Eva Marie was also asked to showcase her portfolio that she completed with us in DIFE at the recent NCAD Open Days and Portfolio information days so that was a huge compliment to the standard of her work.  She spoke to our current groups and was very helpful in explaining what is expected at 3rd Level when students leave DIFE.  She felt DIFE had prepared her greatly for the progression and she still uses research that she completed with us in DIFE in NCAD and found what she learned with us invaluable.

It is always wonderful when former students pop in and have a chat with current students.  We are extremely grateful to those that have dropped by this year as the advice they can give our current students is priceless.  They are also taking the time out of their hectic schedules to give a little back to DIFE and for that we are extremely appreciative.  We wish Eva Marie every success in her studies in NCAD and wish her the very best in her future career.

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Brown Thomas Xmas Windows


Former DIFE Fashion and Textile Student Eamonn McGill once again wows with his collaboration with Brown Thomas to work on their Christmas windows in Grafton Street. This is Eamonns 2nd year to work with Brown Thomas and he helped with 8 of the looks displayed in the windows this year.

The theme was Brown Thomas Express taking inspiration from the 1930s and the Orient Express.  He got to work with garments worn by Maureen O’Hara that feature in the displays.   The Brown Thomas Christmas windows are always a highlight to see in Grafton Street at Christmas time so it is a fantastic opportunity to be involved in such a fantastic project.


You can see more of what Eamonn does on his instagram page: eamonnmcgilldesign

or at:

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