My Christmas traditionally starts at the National Crafts & Design Fair at the RDS. In the past it has often taken place over the second weekend of December, so it came to me as something of a panicked surprise when a designer friend remarked earlier in the week that she was going to be there at the end of this week. Some quick juggling of things later, I found myself marching towards the RDS this afternoon.
In the past I have also usually visited during the weekend days, so I was expecting crowds to be thinner. All the same, the halls were busy, which on a weekday afternoon in recessionary times was very good to see. All three halls were still in place: two dedicated to crafts and design, and one to food, although I did get a feeling that the two smaller halls had more space around stalls than in previous years.
There was the usual variety of crafts to be bought: clothes, woodwork, jewellery, cosmetics (including soaps and the like), paper crafts, decorations, art, foods and much more. I am always very impressed with the general quality at the fair. I think it's a brilliant reflection of the sheer amount of Irish and Irish-based creative talent available. I would urge visitors to take a breather from shopping and to pay particular attention to the design exhibition held in the Industries Hall. It is always good but this year's pieces were particularly breathtaking. Regrettably I was not able to note the names of designers, but I loved the large anvil made of solid glass, the knitted/crocheted dresses and the lacy parasol.
As ever, I was able to get a lot of my seasonal shopping sorted even while enjoying the festive and creative atmosphere. I would recommend the fair for all, not least because supporting our own artists and designers is crucial in gloomy economic times.
National Crafts & Design Fair runs at the RDS until Sunday 4 December; Friday 10 am - 10 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am - 7 pm; Admission €10, OAP €8, Accompanied children under 16 free.