Kilkenny GMIT student wins top award in IrelandSkills National Final

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 Press Office
Press Release

Furniture Design & Manufacture degree student Paul Bowden wins Cabinetmaking final

A Kilkenny student in GMIT's Letterfrack campus has scooped the coveted top award in this year’s IrelandSkills National Competition in Cabinetmaking, held in in Dun Laoghaire Further Education Institute.


Paul Bowden from Graine, Urlingford, Co Kilkenny, is a second year student on the B.Sc. in Furniture Design and Manufacture programme. It was his first time taking part in the national competition. Of the six finalists, four were students of GMIT Letterfrack.


This is the sixth year in a row that a student from GMIT Letterfrack has won this award. Last year’s winner Darren Barber went on to represent Ireland at the World Skill competition held in Leipzig, Germany in July where he finished in ninth place.


Working from a detailed set of working drawings, the competitors had 20 hours to make an intricate free-standing hall display cabinet incorporating a beech cabinet carcass supported on a walnut underframe. The carcass was to contain a frame and paneled door with storage drawer and the top was to incorporate some intricate veneer inlay work. To make this piece the competitors were allowed to use a combination of hand, power tools and machines. The competition was extremely intense with a very fast work rate.


The other finalists from GMIT Letterfrack were Ronan Geoghegan (Dundalk, Co. Louth) Daniel Hawthorne (Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan) and Shane Walsh (Mooncoin, Co. Kilkenny). All four students competing in the final were selected for being the highest scoring candidates in the Preliminary Stage of the competition. The Cabinetmaking category was one of twenty other skills competitions that took place in DIT and CIT last week.


Anthony Clare, IrelandSkills Co-ordinator for GMIT Letterfrack, says the competition is very challenging and the pressure on the contestants is palpable in the workshop. “Time planning coupled with impeccable making is critical for success and we wish to congratulate each student on reaching the final of the competition.”


“Paul Bowden is a very worthy winner. We are all delighted for him and I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate all the participants for putting in such a huge effort to have reached the finals. They have done themselves, their families and GMIT Letterfrack proud. I would also like to acknowledge and thank High Tech Machinery Ltd for their very kind sponsoring the Cabinetmaking competition and for presenting a perpetual trophy to Paul”, added Mr. Clare


GMIT Letterfrack offers a range of programmes in furniture design and technology and an undergraduate teacher training programme for students who wish to become teachers of Construction Studies and Design and Communication Graphics at post primary level.


GMIT Letterfrack is the National Centre of Excellence in Furniture Design and Technology. Letterfrack students’ success in national competitions underlies the excellence of standards in teaching and learning at the campus which has approximately 260 students registered on degree and honours degree programmes in Furniture Design & Manufacture, Furniture & Wood Technology and Design and Technology Education. The college has strong links with industry with all students offered placements both in Ireland and overseas as part of their programmes. 


For more information on GMIT Letterfrack, go to or or tel 091 742653.