The Design & Crafts Council Ireland’s renowned Ceramics Skills and Design Course is a two-year intensive skills-based programme. Initially established in 1990 as a one-year programme, this extremely successful course has achieved an excellent reputation in the industry both nationally and internationally. It is accredited through National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

The programme is delivered at the Design & Crafts Council Ireland's Ceramics Centre of Excellence at the beautiful Island Mill in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. The ceramics course specialises in production skills, clay and glaze technology, kiln theory and operation, surface treatments, drawing and design, the history of ceramics and contemporary practice. The superb facilities, with electric, gas and wood fired kilns, allow students to build up an extensive knowledge of techniques, materials and processes. Throughout the two-year programme, visiting tutors with specialist expertise give demonstrations and lectures.

The course aims to develop individual creativity through dynamic work practice and the knowledge and skills required to support quality and innovation in design and production. Pricing, marketing and photography using the latest digital technology and computers are covered in Year Two under Professional Practice. External projects are undertaken to give students hands-on experience of working with clients and on innovative community-based projects to develop the skills required to work in a team.

The Ceramics Centre of Excellence had the honour of welcoming HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall where they viewed the unique facilities and learned more about the skills training offered at this idyllic location, as part of their visit to Kilkenny in May 2017.

Building on the experience and success of this skills-based course in ceramics at Island Mill and in the Jewellery and Goldsmithing Skills & Design course in Castle Yard, Kilkenny, DCCI’s vision is to work with partner organisations in developing centres of excellence to ensure industry needs are met through specialised training and access to facilities, leading to an emerging workforce with the experience and expertise necessary for the ongoing development of craft and design in Ireland.

Course Facilities

Each student has their own work area with an electric wheel, work benches and drying racks. Tools, equipment and raw materials are provided by the course which has three pug mills for clay preparation. As well as the main production studios on the first and second floor, the course has electric and gas kiln rooms, three outside wood-fired kilns, a glaze research room, a glazing room and student kitchen all housed within a courtyard area. A student study computer and small library are also located on the first floor of the main studio. The course has recently evolved to include a residency programme and continues to strengthen its links with industry.

Course Mode

Full time September – July
2 years at 44 weeks per year.
Student enrolment is on a biennial basis.

Course Costs

Please note that annual student contribution fees are being introduced for the two-year programmes at the DCCI Centres of Excellence. These fees will apply to the ceramics intake in September 2020 for the 2020 - 2022 programme. The fees will be €2,000 per annum for Irish/EU citizens. (Fees for UK students studying in Ireland will remain at EU level for the 2020 ceramics intake.) Fees of €9,500 per annum will apply for non-EU students in line with standard practice in the higher education sector. For further information, please email

Students enrolled on the course have materials supplied by DCCI.