One of the main reasons for this is the willingness of Irish consumers to pay a premium for unique products such as jewellery, ceramics and textiles, according to the Crafts Council of Ireland (CCoI).
CCoI chief executive Sarah Daly said more needs to be done to ensure the industry continues to grow over the next few years.
“Consumers want handmade Irish products but they don’t know where to purchase them. There are not enough retail outlets in Ireland selling homemade crafts and we need to change that.”
“We can do that by working with retailers and ensuring that stores selling Irish crafts are a focal point in cities and towns,” she added.
The aim of the council’s strategic plan 2007-2009 is to ensure that the craft sector can compete in retail environment in Ireland.
Chairman of the CCoI, Gerry Wycherley said: “The Crafts Council of Ireland’s role is to continue to grow and strengthen the Irish crafts industry by monitoring the market and by continuing to adapt and respond to the market changes. The challenges are many but the opportunities are great.”
“The onset of mass production and the phenomenon of the global brand have seen the explosion of a new consumer onto the market, one who actively seeks and desires well designed, unique, authentic and collectable product,” he added.
Almost 18,000 craft businesses are registered with the CCoI and the industry is responsible for 3,500 jobs in Ireland.
The CCoI have developed a programme to attract new talent, encouraging school-leavers and graduates into the sector, facilitating the commercial development of new and emerging craft enterprises in partnership with City and County Enterprise Boards and other support agencies and educational bodies.