“FAIRS here are not as big by any means as those in the UK. The biggest regular fairs would have between 30 and 45 dealers and even the annual equivalent of a LAPADA fair would only have about 40 dealers or so.”

That’s the Irish fairs scene in a nutsell from organiser Joan Murray who, on Sunday February 27, will stage the Clontarf Castle Hotel fair. The venue is a Victorian Gothic pile two miles north of Dublin It’s a typically eclectic affair. “At Clontarf there will be 45 dealers with a wide mix; everything from furniture, Georgian and Victorian silver, paintings and fine art, jewellery and decorative antiques.”

Two dealers with widely differing stock are Antiques and Antiquities and Peter Moore. Both been standing at the fair for ten years.

Antiques and Antiquities are specialists in English and Irish silver. They have noticed an easing-off in the silver market in Ireland over the last two years as investemnt money has moved into property. However they are hoping to find buyers for an 18th century cruet stand, fully marked for C. Haines Dublin, 1786 priced at €3000 and a selection of Cork and Limerick flatware from €200-3000.

Peter Moore from Northern Ireland deals in 20th century English ceramics and vintage radios. “This year I’m taking a lovely pair of Doulton Lambeth stoneware lamps I bought at Swinderby and a stock of vintage radios which have seen a resurgence of interest; these will include a fully restored Bakelite radio, 1936-37 at €450.”