The size of two Croke Parks: Conor Pope goes inside Ikea’s new Dublin delivery depot

Sprawling 27,000 sq m facility with 200 staff members will be able to ship 9,000 of retail giant’s products faster than ever

The official measurement of giant warehouse spaces in Ireland is now GAA stadiums, with the new Ikea delivery depot outside of Rathcoole, Co Dublin weighing in at an impressive two Croke Parks.

It is, of course, small fry in comparison to the nearby Amazon fulfilment centre, which is closer to five Croke Parks but, by any other conceivable measure, it is massive.

It is from here that as many as half a million packages made up of flat-pack furniture, cheap delph, freezer bags, soft lighting and softer cushions and all the rest will be shipped across Ireland faster than ever before in the months ahead.

It is not, however, a hive of activity when The Irish Times visits. Rather it is deathly quiet and there’s barely a sinner in the place. It’s like the Mary Celeste of the flat-pack world.


Jakob Bertilsson, Ikea Ireland’s country customer fulfilment manager, explains that the 120 or so staff who would normally be ferrying things from the enormous shelving units to the dispatch bays have all been sent on a break to ensure we’re not felled by a rogue Billy Bookcase as we take the press tour.

At the official opening, he and a gaggle of senior Ikea executives are joined by some of the 200 or so staff that will work at the depot, with the Swedish ambassador Lina van der Weyden also on hand to mark the Swedish retail giant’s big day.

Sprawling over 27,000 sq m, the warehouse is currently home to around 9,000 of the 11,000 or so products, big and small, stocked by Ikea in Ireland. Now that it is up and running, the Swedish giant is promising online shoppers their orders within three days, with delivery costs running from a tenner to €50 depending on the size of the order.

In some respects, the warehouse looks identical to the area of an Ikea shop that houses all the flat-pack furniture, but here the shelves reach much, much higher into the sky.

The other key distinction is that here the products are not removed by consumers and brought outside for those games of car Tetris that get played by stressed out shoppers doing their best to fit all their boxed up purchases into boots.

It is calmer here, and the products are plucked from shelves by dedicated floor staff driving fork lifts and dropped at computer-driven packing points where they are bundled up and sent on their way around Ireland in Ikea’s newly minted fleet of electric vehicles (EVs).

Over the next 12 months, Ikea says it will deliver around half a million orders, with the new distribution centre replacing a previously used unit in Peterborough, with delivery times falling to three days.

The warehouse comes with a Building Energy Rating (Ber) of A2 and an enviable amount of EV charging points to help Ikea transition to exclusive zero-emissions home deliveries.

As of now, customers with Dublin eircodes will receive their home deliveries in zero-emission vehicles and Ikea has committed to ensuring all deliveries to customers across Ireland will be exclusively in zero-emission vehicles by August 2025.

The deputy chief executive of Ikea Ireland Marsha Smith is all smiles as she talks about the past, present and future.

She says the retailer has been looking to open a distribution centre in Ireland for many years. “Thankfully for the last few years we have been quite successful here and that means we have been able to invest in this unit.”

She stresses that it will not mean it’s curtains for the physical shop and there is, she says, still “incredible visitation” to the store in Ballymun.

She says as people get more accustomed to its online offering the ranges they buy widen.

“If you go back a few years, we didn’t see people buying kitchens online and now they are buying the full range; but if you just want to order three mugs you can get them to your home very quickly.”

Also at the opening is Retail Excellence chief executive Jean McCabe, who welcomes the growth of Ikea.

“Ikea lead in a lot of sectors and they have reinvented how shopping is done. I don’t think there is a house in Ireland that doesn’t have a piece of Ikea in it. For me it is therapy because I am a retailer.”

For others that might not be so enamoured of it, of course, it can lead directly to couples therapy as they fall out over the flat-pack assembly.

But that’s a whole other story.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast