“Bitcoins accepted here,” declares the sign at Deborah von Metzradt’s jewellery stall at the RDS
National Crafts and Design Fair. Has she had many transactions in bitcoins on the opening day of the fair?
“No, and we’re not expecting to,” she confides. “But I put it up because my son told me I needed to move with the times . . . You never know. Someone who’s into technology might want to pay in bitcoins.”
As well as the introduction of payment in bitcoins to the annual craft fair, visitors yesterday were surprised to see a large area given over to plastic imported toys and dolls. “None of it is relevant to a craft fair. It’s not made here, and it’s not craft. It seems like a random add-on,” one annoyed stall holder said, asking that his name not be published “in case the organiser is annoyed with me”.
“The toys are a separate thing to the craft fair,” agrees organiser Patrick O’Reilly. “But we’ve had 10,000 people through the doors today so far and only four of them have come to the office and complained.”
“This is the busiest year for me so far since 2007,” says Courtney Tyler, who sells rings and cufflinks made from old computer keys. “But it’s not busy compared to 2007. Every year till then was my best year.” Also on offer at Tyler’s stall were €12 “tea warmers”: pieces of knitting you button round a mug to keep your tea warm.
Tadhg Dineen was manning the Tara Crystal Chandeliers stall, which had five chandeliers on display. Do people really come to a craft fair expecting to buy a scarf or a pottery vase and come home with a chandelier? Well, according to Dineen, last year they made nine sales of “our most popular chandelier, the nine-arm, two-tier one”.
It sells for €1,900 and is suitable for “your typical redbrick Dublin house”, as Dineen says. Should you want something fancier, there’s a much bigger one for €5,000.
Last year, they took enough orders for chandeliers at the craft fair to keep their three-man company in work for two months solid, and Dineen is confident they’ll do even better this year.
Among the many, many other items on sale in the RDS were products that had been winners in the Irish Times Artisan Food Producer Competition. This year’s winner is Wild Wood Vinegars made by Fionntan Gogarty. His flavoured vinegars include his bestseller of yesterday, a vivid purple blackberry and heather. “It’s like cooking with colour,” he said.
The RDS National Crafts and Design Fair runs until Sunday