The first car in the queue at IKEA in Ballymun arrived at 5am this morning as the quest to fill new homes with furniture and homeware from the Swedish giants began in earnest.
With the second phase of the roadmap to recovery underway today, restrictions on movement, business and commerce mean more shops can open as life returns to a ‘new normal’ in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many admitted that they set their alarm clocks early in anticipation of massive queues forming.
By the time the doors opened at 10.30am, the queue was snaking around the perimeter of the car park as as estimated 300 people waited patiently.
“I knew I would be one of the first, but I expected to see more people,” said Muna Diab, who was sitting at the gate in her car at 5am with her eleven year old daughter Manal.
“We have a new home in Belmayne so we need furniture like wardrobes, and curtains and kitchen stuff,” said Muna.
Behind her in the queue at the car park, but first to the door of the store, was Jalanta Vasiljeva (26), originally from Latvia but living in Ireland for 15 years.
“I have moved house so I need a chest of drawers, bathroom shelves, and pots and pans and things,” she told Independent.ie.
“I expected to see queues so I came early and found I was near the top,” said Jalanta, who had come from Swords and arrived at 6am.
With the doors not opening until 10.30am for elderly customers, and 11.30am for the rest of the general public, she was facing a long wait.
“It’s okay. I’ve queued before. I am used to being in queues from 2am to 6am when Next have their sales and I need to buy children’s clothes,” Jalanta said with a smile.
“At the beginning of lockdown people were afraid to go out, and it was quiet and peaceful for a while, but now weeks later I am missing people and movement and I am glad to see restrictions start to lift,” she added.
Behind her in the queue were friends Shannon Roberts (23) and Ceri O’Keeffe (24).
Shannon has a new apartment in Portmarnock, but couldn’t move in until she could furnish it.
“We’re here since 5.30am because we thought it was going to be mad, but we’re not tempted to go home and come back now that we’re here,” she said.
Shannon is staying with Ceri in Coolock until she can get furniture.
“I have to furnish the whole place so I have a lot to get. I’ll take what I can today and if I like what I see I’ll order the rest to be delivered,” she added.
Ceri admitted to asking her father to come along so they could get in at 10.30am instead of waiting an extra hour. “He said there’s no way he’d get up that early,” she laughed.
“It’s great to see a bit of normality again. I can’t wait to go back to work,” said Shannon, who works in a creche in Malahide.
“I’m not sure when I’ll be back in work, it could be next week or the end of the month. I’ll have to play it by ear,” she added.
By 8.15am there were about thirty people in the queue, but there was still more than two hours to go until opening time.