News & Events

Minister Bruton meets trade buyers from around the world at Showcase – Ireland’s international creative expo

Strong appetite internationally for the work of Irish designers and makers as up to €20 million in sales orders expected over four days at one of Ireland’s largest international trade shows

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, today met with trade buyers from companies including QVC and University of Rotterdam when he visited Showcase - Ireland’s International Creative Expo at the RDS in Dublin. At the show, Minister Bruton also met with established Irish designers, manufacturers and craftspeople from across Ireland as well as emerging Irish entrepreneurs supported by his Department through their Local Enterprise Office (LEO) who are participating in the Enterprise Zone at the show. Showcase, which celebrates its 40th year this year, is one of the country’s largest international trade fairs, welcoming over 5,000 buyers from Ireland and more than 20 countries including the UK, North America, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and UAE. 

The annual fair, which is run by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, attracts trade visitors from all over the world each year, driven by ongoing direct marketing in partnership with Enterprise Ireland’s network of offices abroad. Showcase generates up to €20 million in sales orders over the four days of the show, making it a critical event in sustaining Ireland’s vibrant design and craft sector. Showcase 2016 sees over 450 exhibitors across Fashion, Jewellery and Home & Giftware unveil thousands of high quality products, many of which are unique to the show. 

The LEOs are supporting 97 individual designers and craftspeople from 22 counties within the dedicated Enterprise Zone area. 

Commenting as he visited the showcase today, Minister Bruton said: “Since their establishment in April 2014, the LEOs have been a great addition to the suite of supports for start-ups and small businesses in Ireland. Helping micro and small craft and design companies take part in major trade events like Showcase, is just one of the supports available to the sector through the Local Enterprise Offices.”

“From my meetings with buyers here at Showcase, it is clear that there is a strong appetite internationally for the work of Irish designers and makers, especially following the year-long Irish Design 2015 initiative. Our design and craft sector is innovative and creative and its contribution to jobs, exports, and tourism is very significant. This annual trade show plays a crucial role in helping Irish companies develop their business and expand their client base, particularly in the export market, which is a central tenet of our Action Plan for Jobs. Since the first Action Plan was launched more than 135,000 extra people are at work, hitting our target 21 months ahead of schedule. With strong implementation of our solid plan, we can see a continuation of the progress we have seen and keep the recovery going.” 

According to Stephen Hughes, Consumer Retail Manager, Enterprise Ireland: "Showcase is a valuable route to international markets for exporting Irish companies in the design and craft sectors. This year Enterprise Ireland's teams at home and abroad will deliver over 200 quality international buyers and journalists to Showcase, many who are visiting the show for the first time. The calibre of international buyers attracted to Showcase by Enterprise Ireland is truly impressive and a testament to the quality and exceptional design that Irish consumer companies have to offer on a global stage. We look forward to welcoming new and returning international buyers from markets as diverse as Canada, France and the UAE. Our ambition is to showcase what is new and innovative in Irish design, craft and craftsmanship and, ultimately, to win export orders." 

Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) said: “Over the last 40 years, Showcase has established itself as a professional, world class trade fair. The strength of the show lies in offering visitors a unique opportunity to see the very latest quality, design-led work emerging from Ireland each year. The designers and makers participating in the show are encouraged to focus on innovation, new product development and craftsmanship and their work keeps both Irish and international buyers coming back to Showcase year after year. Over the four days of the show, we will see sales orders of up to €20 million being placed, making this annual fair critical to the exhibiting small and medium sized enterprises, particulary those who have the ambition to expand their international presence. Together with our colleagues in Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Office, we want to support talented Irish designers and makers and give them the greatest opportunities to compete and win in competitive markets both here in Ireland and abroad.”


Showcase 2016 runs from Sunday 24th to Wednesday 27th January and is for trade attendance only. For further details on the event and to register to attend, please visit:


For further press information please contact:

Aoife Smith, Tara Walsh or Sorcha Furlong at Elevate PR on 01-6625652 or / / 

About Showcase:

Showcase – Ireland’s International Creative Expo is one of the country’s largest international trade show. The annual event is attended by over 5,000 buyers from Ireland and up to 26 countries around the world, generating sales orders of up to €20 million over the four days of the show. Showcase is a partnership between the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and Showcase Ireland Events Ltd, with support from Enterprise Ireland in promoting the show internationally through their network of offices overseas.

Key features of Showcase 2016 include:

-        The Knitwear Project, an exciting presentation of innovative Irish knitwear created by emerging and leading Irish designers and manufacturers, which aims to highlight the potential of the Irish knitwear industry as a driver of Irish design, culture and exports. The initiative has been led by DCCoI working closely with Enterprise Ireland and with an external panel of fashion and design experts, including Deirdre McQuillan, Catherine Condell and Angela O’Kelly, as advisors to the project. Collaborations include Peter O’Brien with Donegal’s Fisherman Out of Ireland, Oscar-nominated animation studio Cartoon Saloon with Beacon Designs from Cork and Mariad Whisker with Elaine Madigan Cashmere. New and original work by companies such as Ekotree from Clare, Ireland’s Eye from Dublin and Coletti from Wicklow have been unveiled and innovative designs from a strong cohort of recent graduates and students are also on display.

-        Home & Giftware and Jewellery categories with specialist curators Alanna Gallagher (Home & Gift) and Natasha Sherling (Jewellery) guiding buyers to the very best and exciting new products from the show’s exhibitors.

-        Creative Island, a dedicated area featuring 91 DCCoI client companies selected by an independent jury for their creativity, innovation and craftsmanship, which is particularly popular with the 82% of international buyers who visit Showcase to purchase products that have been authentically designed and made in Ireland.

-        The Enterprise Zone which features unique products by 97 small craft and design businesses from 22 counties who have been supported by their Local Enterprise Office 

About the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland:  

The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) is the main champion of the design and craft industry in Ireland, fostering its growth and commercial strength, communicating its unique identity and stimulating quality design, innovation and competitiveness. DCCoI's activities are funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. DCCoI currently has 64 member organisations and over 3,180 registered clients.