Earlier this month, the delightfully irreverent duo of sassy British art critics, collectively known as The White Pube tweeted a handy play-it-yourself art college Degree Show Bingo Card, which hit home in all the right places.

Anyone who has attended more than one graduate exhibition will chuckle at the 'nude self-portrait', 'pile of small objects in a corner' and 'old suitcase as sculpture' options. It’s funny because it’s true.

This year's raft of Irish degree shows included many of the fairy lights, plants, sand, mirrors and baths that turn up with regularity. Part of what made Gabrielle de la Puente and Zarina Muhammad’s bingo card so much fun was the ease with which the boxes could be X-ed. But this year's Irish shows, which took place across the country, also included fresh talent and surely some of the potential art stars of the future.

There are always instant stand-outs. This year’s CIT Crawford College of Art and Design grad show featured a remarkable level of professionalism across the board, with top notch work by Anna O’Riordan:

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Robyn O’Riordan, whose work looks at disruption of the familiar in a domestic setting:

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Muireann Kelleher, who made chance drawings with pens activated by switching on a fan:

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Róisín Everard, who used video, performance and sculpture to explore ideas around control:

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And Oisin Burke, who melted glass like cellophane onto fused steel rod structures:

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As a rule, only one or two in every graduating hundred will go will go on to pursue a full-time career as a fine artist, but the ambition displayed by final year art students can be as inspirational as it is occasionally naive or repetitive.

The 2018 Irish degree show season started with the opening of the IT Carlow BA show on 17 May. It ran until 9 June at Wexford Arts Centre, with work focusing on social change and identity.

Surely one of the most inspirational settings for a graduate exhibition, the DIT Visual Art Degree on Sherkin Island BA show ran for two days in May as it does every year on the island of the coast of West Cork.

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The Sherkin Island graduate work was also shown as part of the overall DIT Degree Show at Grangegorman in Dublin and is now at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen from 2-30 June - details here.

The National College of Art and Design's Instagram feed featured lots of this year’s most exciting work from a show that ran from 9-17 June, including drawings by #RTECulture #21artworks artist Donal Geheran: 

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And painting by Róisín O’Donnell and Lena Willyrd:

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The Limerick School of Art and Design show ran from 2-10 June - along with painting, sculpture and more, it featured strong work in Graphic Design Communication and from Fashion Degree programme graduates Dubheasa O Ceallaigh and Anna O Doherty:

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2008 GMIT Galway School of Design and Creative Arts graduate and painter Cecilia Danell highlighted some of her top picks from this year’s degree show at her alma mater, which ran from 2-10 June and featured exciting work by painter Emma Carter (image #9 in the feed below).

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Irish Arts Council Collection Advisor Eamonn Maxwell picked out this work by Susan Buttner on his Instagram feed from the NCAD MFA showing:

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As well as these highlights from the DIT Grangegorman photography degree show:

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Social media, and in particular Instagram, has changed how audiences can encounter degree shows. It’s now possible to check out graduate works without the full trek around the rooms and corridors of buildings normally reserved for teaching and studio work, turned temporary sprawling gallery.

Every year, these shows offer viewers a chance to buy reasonably priced art by potential artists at the start of their careers, and graduates a chance to make their mark on a suddenly wider public. Whether they go on to achieve glittering fame or not, graduate show work is fresh (despite the clichés), in your face, and generally unapologetic. The grad shows are always worth a visit. Although, next year’s graduates might want to do a quick, quite checklist before opening night in case audiences have their The White Pube Bingo cards at the ready…