As a nation we Irish had developed certain routines that were followed for generations - particularly on a Sunday. Mass was a big one, over 90% of us attending almost every Sunday until very recent years. Sunday dinner another biggie, families sitting down together around a joint of meat or a roast chicken. Some of us even got dessert on Sundays.Ice-cream and jelly or home-made apple tart with a taste of whipped cream or even better a pouring of thick yellow custard. Yum.
The GAA since its inception has been a huge part of most Irish Sundays. As time rolled on and we became a little more prosperous the Sunday drive or spin became a form of torture that I don't think was peculiar only to Irish children. All jammed (without seat belts) in the back seat, younger siblings on older siblings' laps; the 'baby' sitting on the mother's lap in the front passenger seat as the father drove his squad to some freezing beach or alleged beauty spot to admire the scenery. Constant fighting, World War 3 in the back seats of Ford Cortinas all over the country.
Then came a rash of DIY and gardening centres that spread like a contagion all over the country. Sunday shopping was introduced and the desires of the home and garden enthusiast were whetted or sated by a ramble around Woodies or Atlantic wher one could debate the merits of vinyl silk over satin finish. Cash became flash for a brief but glorious period and that's when life became about 'want' not 'need' and shopping centres all over the country were thronged with people spending, spending, -spending - all day Sunday. We worshipped at the altar of shopping for non-essentials. It became a national pasttime.
Well, the mad excesses of cash have been swallowed into the black and bottomless pit that is our banking crisis. So Sundays - what now to do? I'll tell ye where I think everyone goes on a Sunday now. At least most Sundays. Ikea in Ballymun is swarming with bodies.Surging. Filled to bursting by shoppers in every age-group wandering around, coming in to pick up a picture frame and maybe treat the kids to some Swedish meatballs and going home with two new duvet covers, some decking, loose covers for the sofa, throws, rugs, glasses, a new cuddly toy, a fabulous lamp, a few plants, the cheapest coffee table in Ireland and shite! did we leave enough space in the car for the kids?
I love Ikea, love all their nice bright funky practical designs in both furniture and soft furnishings, love all their little nik-naks too. But on Sundays in Dublin Ikea is sheer bloody Hell.HELL!!And Hell is packed. One may well have to circumnavigate the carparks three or four times before one battles with another car for that coveted space. Once inside you just have to go with the flow of the crowds. You invariably spend far too much time and money in the store and then you have to queue for ages to pay despite over thirty paypoints all being manned. So I'm never, ever, ever EVER going to Ikea on a Sunday again. I'll go some nice quiet evening or afternoon Monday to Wednesday when everyone within a hundred mile radius of Ballymun is somewhere else.
I am a marketing man's dream. I fall for all their ploys; prove all their statistics. So I think I'll send Jemser next time I want something from Ikea. He is the only person I know who can go in to that heavenly of hellish place and only buy what he went in to buy. I'll save a fortune. But my house will be a little duller. I wonder what my imagined great-grandchildren will be doing with their Sundays in the future? Food for another blog methinks..........