Art Scene

Zara McDaid

Art Scene: Creativity at a Letterkenny national school

Students with Teacher, Ms Emer O'Sullivan.

Students with Teacher, Ms Emer O’Sullivan.

WALKING through the school door of Letterkenny Educate Together National School (LETNS), it is clear that art is a highly valued curricular area.

Since opening their doors in September 2006 they have been housed in prefabs, something that one might associate with a dull and drab environment.


In contrast, every inch of their walls are adorned with art making their school an exciting and stimulating environment for the children with the art emanating the learning going on within the school. “We are fortunate to have a very talented and creative staff,” said Teacher, Ms Emer O’Sullivan.

“They ensure each child has the opportunity to embrace artistic education, that is, the children having the opportunity to make art, and aesthetic education, the child as an active receiver of art, in keeping with our child-centred ethos here in LETNS.”

Ms O'Suillivan working with students.

Ms O’Suillivan working with students.

The children at LETNS have participated in a broad range of exciting projects and activities to date, such as Paper Mache Egyptian Mummy, Silhouettes, Portraits and Crannóg Models, to name but a few.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to give an insight into some of their very creative, unique art projects.

The high standard of work is clearly evident and it is a credit to the teachers in this school who have taught the students the necessary techniques and skills to create such unique and beautiful works of art.

Letterkenny ETNS logo copy

School Logo
From the onset the children had an active role in art in the school. The Logo for Letterkenny Educate Together National School was developed by the pupils in 2010. All of the individual student designs were reviewed, and the final logo is a combination of many ideas, drawings and symbols which the pupils feel represent our school.


Upcycled Igloo
Last year Junior Infants created an igloo made out of recycled old milk cartons. This project received a lot of local media coverage for its innovative approach to upcycling.

Patchwork Quilt Before

Patchwork Quilt themed Dreams
Last year the third class children created a patchwork quilt titled ‘Dreams’. After selecting an individual object that reflects their own dream, the children learned an important life skill, to sew.
They began on squared paper and progressed to material. Finally they each created their own square. These were then sewn together by a very talented parent, to create the final patchwork quilt.

Tiles themed National Flowers/Craft-Ed
The children had the amazing opportunity to work with the very talented ceramicist from Donegal called Emer O’Sullivan.
They participated in a four week project titled ‘National Flowers’. They each selected a National Flower of significance to them and then created their flower in a variety of media.
Finally, they each created an individual tile. The children held an exhibition of their work for the school community. I felt this was an important part of the real-life process of an artist so it was important they experienced that too.
The tiles are now mounted on wood and we look forward to hanging this wonderful piece of art in our new school building in the very near future.


As part of Read DL, the children in fifth class responded to one of the stories from Ramelton author Joe Brennan’s ‘Donegal Folk Tales’. The story titled ‘The Silkie Seal’ was the stimuli for a collage which the children created using a variety of media to create the textured effect. The collage was then on show in the Regional Cultural Centre.

Lauscaux Cave Paintings
The children had been learning about the Stone Age and studied the well-known Lascaux Cave Paintings in South Western France, famous for its Paleolithic cave roof paintings. 

Zara McDaid can be contacted on Facebook, search ‘Zara Mc Daid Art’, or e-mail is

Letterkenny based GP Dr James McDaid said that an ‘awful’ lot of people across Donegal were using benzodiazepines.