Present hunters to get crafty at RDS Christmas fair

More than 40,000 shoppers expected to visit Ireland’s largest design and craft market

Emily Sachs  on the Artwood stand at the RDS: The f ive-day National Crafts and Design Fair  has grown from 100 stalls in 1995 to 600 this year. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

Emily Sachs on the Artwood stand at the RDS: The f ive-day National Crafts and Design Fair has grown from 100 stalls in 1995 to 600 this year. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

More than 40,000 people searching for crafty Christmas presents will converge on the RDS over the next five days during the National Crafts and Design Fair.

The event, which features some 600 stalls, is the largest such fair in Ireland, and is forecast to generate €5 million in sales.

With gifts ranging from €5 to over €5,000, there’s likely to be something for everyone in the audience.

The fair was opened yesterday by Minister of State for Business Ged Nash, who said buying locally-produced arts, crafts and foods was a key way people could “play their part in sustaining and growing jobs in the craft sector”.

Brian McGee of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland also stressed the economic benefits of buying local.

He said Ireland’s more than 6,000 “designers and makers” contributed over €500 million to the Irish economy each year, “but more importantly they bring economic activity and vibrancy to their localities”.

Game of Thrones textile artist Emma Andrews, former RTÉ DJ-turned jewellery designer Jenny Huston, and former banker-now-goldsmith Helena Malone are just some of the exhibitors likely to attract attention.

The event was described as “vital” to the industry by organiser Patrick O’Sullivan.

He said it “generates enough business to keep most of the exhibitors’ busy for at least four months into the new year”.

When the event first came to the RDS in 1995 there were just over 100 stalls, “so to grow that to more than 600 is remarkable”, he added.

In addition to the arts and crafts there will be also be over 120 artisan food producers with many selling locally-produced foods.

The fair will be open from 10am to 10pm today and tomorrow, and from 10am to 7pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Full-price tickets are €10, while concession tickets cost €8. Children under 16 go free.