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Image / Editorial

The Irish craft and design fairs to visit if you’re in gift-buying hell


by Lauren Heskin
20th Nov 2018

There are really only two types of gift-giving that happen during the Christmas season. The first is giving the gift you know they’re going to adore, something you spotted and just immediately knew who it was destined for. You probably look forward to giving it even more than you do to opening your own – getting to see their face when they open it and be comforted by the knowledge that someone knows them so well.

The other is when you just really need a gift, and the closer to Christmas you get, the more just any gift will do. It’s a gift that they’ll like, of course, but next Christmas you’ll ask yourself what you got them and you won’t remember… and, let’s be honest, neither will they.

This year, with the focus so much of ethical buying as well as shopping local, we’ll be hitting up some of Ireland’s fairs and markets to find presents that friends and family will not only love, but have also been ethically made, produced locally and thoughtfully created by some homegrown talent.

Dublin Flea Christmas Market

Date December 6-9, and December 13-16
Admission Free
Speciality Small Irish creative businesses and second-hand fashion and homeware

This year, the Dublin Flea Christmas Market will open its doors for not just one weekend but two, with a huge variety of Irish creative businesses represented, most of which are small, one and two-person operations. Taking place in the Point along the Dublin Docklands from December 6-9 and 13-16, you can snap up some gorgeous hand-dyed Kathryn Davey socks, a piece of Image Interiors & Living Design Awards Tableware winner Aisling McElwain’s slate ceramic collection, below, or a Liadain Aiken woolly hat. There’s so much more too with over 280 stalls to visit, just make sure to check which weekend your favourites will be showing at as there will be different makers on over the two weekends.

City Hall Craft and Design Fair, Cork

Date November 23-25
Admission €5
Speciality Irish fashion and natural beauty

Cork always seems to be a county brimming with creative talent and their annual craft and design pair is the proof of it, with 85 artisan producers and makers all under one roof. Running since 1991, 2018 is set to be its biggest year yet, featuring plenty of gifts and festive homeware ideas and many of the exhibitors only show here so it’s worth the weekend venture south. We’ll be stopping by La Bougie’s stand, Ireland’s only classically trained perfumer and candle-maker, as well as picking up a few of Cork’s Baltimore Beacon eco-friendly t-shirts, made from recycled plastic bottles and organic cotton and designed especially for the fair by Due South.

Gifted: The Contemporary Craft & Design Fair

Date December 5-9
Admission €12 for adults, €10 for OAPs, children under 16 go free.
Speciality Jewellery and traditional crafts.

One of the biggest Irish craft fairs in the country, Gifted is expected to usher 45,000 people through the doors of the RDS over its 5-day run and inside you will find Irish jewellery designers, potters, furniture makers textiles and weavers. We’ll definitely be visiting Sam agus Nessa to coo over their adorable animal chopping boards, and we’re looking forward to seeing Ruth Power of Danu Ceramic’s new jewellery range, below. There will also be 10% off everything on Wednesday the 5, so early bird really does catch the perfect gift in this case.

Featured image: Jen and Gra of Beeswax Candle Makers at last year’s Dublin Flea Christmas Market