Showcase, Ireland's largest international trade fair, has opened in the RDS in Dublin.

The event, now in its 38th year, has attracted potential buyers from 26 countries.

Showcase estimates trade order sales in excess of €20m over the four days of the show. 

Over 430 of Ireland's designers, manufacturers and craft makers are exhibiting at this year's event, presenting thousands of products to over 5,000 retail buyers from Ireland and abroad.

This year, Showcase is predicting a 10% increase in international buyers, driven by a new direct marketing effort in partnership with Enterprise Ireland offices abroad.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade Eamon Gilmore opened the exhibition earlier this morning.

"Showcase is of huge importance in developing trade links for Ireland's creative sector and the next four days will be crucial for the participating exhibitors in securing orders for the coming year, supporting Irish exports and Irish jobs," Mr Gilmore said. 

"The increase in registration figures from international buyers this year is very encouraging and reflects Ireland's growing reputation abroad for excellence in design and craftsmanship."

Crafts Council of Ireland Chief Executive Karen Hennessy said there is significant potential for increasing exports in the sector.

"We have seen a lot of indicators in terms of the number of exhibitors and also in terms of the numbers of buyers who have pre-registered," she told RTÉ News.

"But also talking to people on the ground setting up their exhibitions, there's a real positivity and buzz."