Craft and design fair to attract thousands of visitors to RDS this week

Sector ‘immensely important’ provider of employment in Ireland, says Minister

A file photograph showing Emily Sachs on the Artwood stand at the RDS in 2015. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

A file photograph showing Emily Sachs on the Artwood stand at the RDS in 2015. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Over 5,000 visitors from 20 countries are expected to peruse the best of Irish craft and design at the annual Showcase trade fair in Dublin’s RDS over the coming days.

Now in its 42nd year, the industry event will generate over €20 million in sales over its four-day run until Wednesday.

Speaking at the opening ceremony on Sunday, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys described the sector as being “immensely important” to the wider economy.

“This is already an immensely important sector, employing thousands of designers and makers across Ireland, in both rural and urban locations,” she said.

“As Ireland moves towards full employment- an incredible achievement for our country given the global economy over the past decade - the emphasis must now be on high-quality, sustainable jobs that deliver real growth in the economy.

“Ireland has long been renowned in the field, and we must continue to capitalise on this strength - events like this help us to do just that.”

Some 450 stalls exhibiting an eclectic array of items from fashion, jewellery, home and giftware will be aiming to make an impact on a market thought to be worth in the region of €140 million for Irish businesses.

This year’s Showcase fair includes a strong emphasis on Irish-made products manufactured through a combination of cutting-edge technologies and traditional production methods.

Brands participating in the Made Slow section of the event, which focuses on promoting sustainable rural employment through Irish design, include Aran Woollen Mills, Avoca and Mourne Textiles.

“Exhibitors at the show include micro, small and medium-sized enterprises keen to break into the export market or expand their existing international presence, and Showcase provides them with the opportunity to connect with buyers from all over the world and secure orders for the coming year,” said Design and Crafts Council of Ireland chief executive Karen Hennessy.