Art Scene

Zara McDaid

Art Scene: Deirdre Doherty’s millinery talent is ‘Off Your Head’

Deirdre Doherty, Bespoke Milliner

Deirdre Doherty, Bespoke Milliner

THE ever popular Galway Races opening day kick starts today and as we all know this exciting event offers some of the best fashion forward style at the races in Ireland.

I love how the ladies attending will dress in vintage inspired clothing but put their modern spin on it. Beautiful ladies will travel from all over Ireland hoping to win the prestigious ‘Ladies Day Best Dressed Lady 2014’ prize and the style stakes will be extremely high.


Personally, I always feel an outfit for the races is just not complete unless you have a striking headpiece or fascinator to compliment your look!

This week I spoke to a talented Irish milliner from Donegal about her work and inspirations and I just can’t wait to get my hands on the bespoke headpiece she is making especially for me!

Introducing Deirdre Doherty, a talented milliner whose work has recently caught my eye. ‘Off Your Head Designs’ is the name of her upcoming business which is based Letterkenny. Deirdre offers a readymade service supplying the very popular and ever stylish Tokyo Boutique on the main street in Letterkenny.

Sinead Garry, Tokyo, Letterkenny, and Eimear Shiels who is wearing one of Deirdre Doherty's bespoke headpieces.

Sinead Garry, Tokyo, Letterkenny, and Eimear Shiels who is wearing one of Deirdre Doherty’s bespoke headpieces.

She also offers a custom design service in which she hand makes all of the hats by blocking (stretching the base shapes), dying the fabric to match specific colours, attaching handmade flowers, feathers, lace and other adornments.

Deirdre is an extremely skilled milliner and she hand stitches every loop and ribbon creating hats for all occasions from bridal pieces to fascinator for the races. She is multi talented and also makes brooch bouquets, bridal belts and jewellery as well as shoe and bag clips.

From a young age Deirdre has always been interested in Art and Design and she had a special passion for textiles. After graduating from Rosses Community School in Dungloe she attended GMIT Galway were she specialized in Fine Art Ceramics.


When she graduated in 2009 she returned home and continued her pastime of making hairclips and Jewellery. Overtime, Deirdre gradually began making pieces for friends and family.

Deirdre Doherty 1

After she moved to Letterkenny, her work made a name for itself by word of mouth amongst our local fashionistas and it was then that she decided to take the leap and develop her hobby into a business.

With the help of the Donegal Enterprise Board and Business Bootcamp, she has been successfully developing the business for the past few years and hopes to expand her retail opportunities in the coming months.

Deirdre said: The young royal family have been very influential in setting millenary trends in the last few years both on and off the race courses.”
She also gains inspiration from seasonal trends and she is always on the lookout for celebrity style, in particular she admires the style of Kate Middleton.
Deirdre also draws inspiration from Irish milliner Philip Tracey’s unique pieces. Recently, Deirdre says she was been inspired by the work of another Irish Milliner Caroline Kennedy.

Zara McDaid 4

If you have a special occasion coming up or if you are attending the Galway races ladies day this Thursday July 31, I would highly recommend a bespoke piece by the fabulous Deirdre Doherty. If you are looking for a quality bespoke fascinator, hair clip or accessories for your special occasion, look no further!

Deirdre can create something unique that will compliment your look and make you stand out from the crowd. Weddings, christenings, the fast approaching proms or a day at the races, compliment your outfit with a matching headpiece or accessory customized by Deirdre in any colour or style you desire.

She can be found on Facebook ‘Off your head designs’, Instagram and pinterest. She also sells her work on online stores such as EBAY and Depop. email

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

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