12 February 2008

Ikea Belfast: a review

On a mild Irish Sunday at 10:00am, James and I boarded the Ikea Express coach at Busarus. Suprisingly, there were only about 10 other passengers, which made for an incredibly quiet trip. As we turned a corner and passed George Best airport, the massive blue building appeared and cheers were let out by a few of the other soon-to-be Ikea shoppers.

After about 10 minutes waiting for the bus driver to figure out where the loading lane was, we were allowed to roam free like a bunch of freerange, bargain hunting livestock on two floors full of scandinavian, inexpensive, furniture laden pastures. The anticipation of it all was so high, but there were a few things that, when compared to the Ikea in my hometown, just didn't seem to be working out.
(photo from wonderbaby.org)

For example, it would seem that Irish people have yet to grasp the concept that it's best to leave the youngins' in the creche whilst you do your shopping. Even though the play area looked 10 times more fun than the one at the Seattle branch, we still saw hundreds of kids in the showrooms screaming and climbing and knocking stuff over, just generally doing what kids do, much to the dismay of their shopping parents.

Also, there wasn't a lot of the larger products in stock, and they didn't really have the warehouse area all that organised. This is something I am sure will probably be fixed over the coming months, but it is still slightly frustrating when you've bussed it all the way from Dublin only to find that the Lack bookcase you had your eye on is out of stock till next week.

On the brighter side though, the staff were all very helpful and nerdy as usual and the meatballs were delicious! Their dining area is huge compared to Seattle and is decked out with plenty of their own dining furniture. Also, I'm pretty sure I saw Patrick Stewart buying a plate of meatballs. I don't even care if it wasn't him. I'm still going to tell all my friends it was.

Although we weren't able to bring home everything we intended to, we still brought back some great stuff. Here's a few of them:The Norbo fold down table isn't the most stylish looking, but we really need the extra space and after I'm done making a cute little table cloth out of the Patricia fabric (see below), It's going to be totally fab.

This is the best picture I could find of it (too lazy to take one myself tonight). It's actually a bit browner in real life. I just love the large pattern. It sort of has a hint of Merimekko without the massive pricetag. This will provide me with some lovely curtains and the tablecloth I mentioned earlier.
This was something my adorably unstylish husband actually found all on his own. He loves industrial looking things with lots of metal, so this very masculine pendant light suits him perfectly. You should have seen his face when I told him I liked it!

We also got loads of Lack shelves to put around the house, a magnet board to hang our keys from, and smaller kitcheny things (a couple of pasta plates and a big, glass mug for the husband). It might not seem like a lot, but it all adds up and getting all that stuff into a taxi was such a pain in the ass...especially the shelves. My one word of advice would be to ring ahead to make sure they have the big things you'd like to buy in stock, and unless you own or are renting a truck, have those big things shipped. It's only 100 pounds per 2 trolley loads.


zee said...

I love the Patricia fabric. I can see myself going a bit nutty and loading up on oodles of IKEA fabric. We're taking a trip this weekend for some shelving and rugs, and will definitely ring in advance to make sure they're in stock - thanks for the tip!

Shawna said...

You can have the fabric cut to however many meters you need or they have stacks of 6 meter long precut rolls, which is what I got.

Yeah, definitely ring ahead if you're getting shelving. That seemed to be what most people were getting. Or any of the office table combos. We spent a half hour trying to find a good tabletop/leg combination that was in stock, before giving up completely.

mickey said...

That a nice article you've written!

I like the idea of getting the bus to Ikea but how do you get the stuff you've bought from the bus in Busaras back to your home?

Did you park a car in town for the day and then get one of you to stand with the stuff while the other fetched the car?

Or did you load it all onto the Luas and go home that way?

Or did you use a taxi?

Could it be done alone or do you need two people?

Shawna said...

Hi Mickey! We unloaded all of our purchases from the bus and I waited while James got a taxi van. If you're buying larger items, you'll definitely need a second person there.