Creativity and innovation on show in Dublin

Handmade eiderdowns and Celtic themed leisurewear are among the innovative craft and giftware products being displayed for the first time on the Invest Northern Ireland stand at the international Showcase Ireland exhibition in Dublin from 21-24 January.

They are among a broad range of quality products from 14 Northern Ireland companies, mostly small craft enterprises, at the event in the RDS, Ballsbridge. Established companies such as Tyrone Crystal, Dungannon, Appletree Press, Belfast, Castle Hill Candles, Portaferry, and Bog Standard, also Belfast, will be featuring a range of existing and new products on the Invest NI stand.

The Northern Ireland display includes both contemporary and traditional designs in ceramics, interior products such as soaps and candles, as well as linens and textiles.

Showcase Ireland, now in its 30th year, has long been an essential part of Invest NI’s trade development programme for smaller companies in crafts, giftware and knitwear.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, commenting on the event, says: “Showcase is an ideal platform, especially for micro companies and sole traders, to launch new products, and also for emerging designers wishing to introduce themselves to international buyers in crafts and giftware. It also helps these companies keep abreast of trends within these sectors in Ireland, the UK and further afield, particularly from the US.

“Our experience is that Showcase generally produces orders and contacts which provide the workload for small companies for much of the year ahead. Last year, for instance, Northern Ireland companies taking part in Showcase 2006 generated business worth around £200,000 during the show.

“Upwards of 10,000 visitors, including international buyers are expected to attend the event, which is organised on behalf of the Crafts Council of Ireland and marketed internationally by Enterprise Ireland.

“It is now one of the largest and most important trade fairs in Europe and is the flagship event for one of the most important sectors in the creative industries. Our companies will be among around 700 largely from Ireland and other parts of Europe. In past shows, Northern Ireland companies have won worthwhile business from buyers in the Arabian Gulf region.” he adds.

One of the most vital and exciting aspects of Showcase is the presentation of fresh talent.  

Taking part in Showcase for the first time are In-Stitches, Enniskillen, a leisurewear designer; Lily Loves, Enniskillen, a producer of handmade eiderdowns; StrandbyDesign, Donaghadee, a designer of quality Celtic themed wear; and Squareball, Omagh, a specialist in casual wear.