You know the feeling: it's near the end of the working day, the sun is hitting the buildings at that perfectly slanted angle, the air is warm and you're in your first sundress of the summer. It's time for a sneaky ice cream.
[4.55pm]— Áine (@himynameisaine) May 14, 2019
Me: [chanting] cornetto, cornetto
Other staff: cornetto, CORNETTO
All of Ireland: [pounding a clipboard] CORNETTO, CORNETTO, CORNETTO
As we enter the (hopefully) long stretch of long stretches, there will come a time when ice cream ceases to be the end of the day treat and usurps coffee as our social date of choice. In anticipation of that, we're sharing our recommendations for the best ice cream in Ireland.
According to Sool Nua, Ireland ranked as the top ice cream destination in the world last year with Dublin ranking as the top destination city. For a country that so rarely sees the sunshine, we certainly have a rich ice cream culture.
To whet your appetite, here are just a few of the best ice cream spots in Ireland.
Summer is a season for treating yourself, all day, every day. While a scoop or two of Murphy's famous ice cream is considerably more expensive than a 99 from the truck in the Phoenix Park, it's an affordable dash of luxury for those days when all you want to do is loaf in the sun.
Made with milk from Kerry cows and blended with the freshest ingredients, this is an Irish brand through and through. We're particularly intrigued by the Apple Balsamic flavour at the moment, but when in doubt you can never go wrong with a cone of their Dingle Sea Salt - the taste of childhood summer holidays.
Have you had ice cream if you haven't had a 99 from Teddy's? No, you absolutely haven't, I'm sorry to tell you.
The Dublin landmark, once known as the "Holy Hatch" on Dun Laoghaire's Windsor Terrace has now expanded into a range of ice cream trucks and even to the lighthouse-end of the pier but dozens still visit the original spot for a dose of nostalgia and delicate whipped delight. Don't forget your flake.
When Scrumdiddly's opened their first shop in Donabate in 2012, queues gathered around the corner, eventually following them to their quaint Dún Laoghaire spot in 2014.
Beloved for their "Scrummy tubs", loaded tubs of silky ice cream, sauces, toppings and cream, their parlours have an air of Willy Wonka's factory to them. Customers can make up to 7,000 unique combinations, or choose from their menu of crepes, "hot Scrummys" and more. We especially like the tart and crunchy Lemon Meringue tub.
Bubble Waffle Factory
Similar to with rolled ice cream, Dublin waited with bated breath for a bubble waffle spot to open up and in 2017 that hungry wish was answered when the Bubble Waffle Factory opened up in permanent premises in Temple Bar.
Kee Mak, the owner, was born in Hong Kong and grew up loving the light and fluffy dessert that dots streets across Asia. While the pillowy bubble waffles are surely the focus here, they're a perfect vehicle for ice cream and sure, any reason to eat more ice cream is good in our book. Try the Peanut Glamour, with peanut butter sauce and Nutella, or the Strawberry Delight.
Fabio's Ice Cream
A Sligo institution, Fabio's has been flying the flag for authentic Italian-style gelato in Ireland for years. Headed by Fabio Boni, a Florence native, all ice cream is made on site to the rigid specifications of gelato making: without industrially mixed bases, emulsifiers or hydrogenated fats and with a focus on fresh, local ingredients.
As gelato has a lower fat content than ice cream, flavours pop much more, making Boni's dynamic flavour combinations all the more delicious. The "bull's blood" - dairy-free orange dark chocolate sorbet with cayenne pepper - is a firm favourite, though on hot days the yogurt and honey really hits the spot.
After years spent drooling over rolled ice creams on Instagram, the Irish public finally got their fix when Arctic Stone opened as a pop-up in Blackrock. Now with permanent premises in Blackrock, Dun Laoghaire, and Bray, this Asian-inspired ice cream company can dazzle your eyes and tastebuds all summer.
The ice cream rolls are created by pouring fresh vanilla cream - or a fresh coconut vegan base - onto a large metal plate cooled to minus 30-degrees, adding toppings like cookies or fruits, and mincing the ingredients together. Fascinating to watch, it takes barely any time to blend and roll your dessert.
The Milk Bar at Eatyard
Another Instagram-friendly food, the "Noir Soft Serve" from The Milk Bar is as delicious as it is pretty. Unveiled as one of the vendors for the next iteration of Eatyard - the permanent food market beside The Bernard Shaw in Dublin - the inky black 99 instantly pulled attention. Served in a velvet-black activated charcoal cone and dusted with sprinkles, it's the perfect alternative to the classic 99.
Not glam enough? No problem - they also serve a 24k gold soft serve ice cream cone, featuring their black ice cream covered with edible gold leaf.
Shout out to their moreish ice-cream cookie sandwiches, handmade with freshly baked cookies from The Dublin Cookie Company and best paired with a short, sharp coffee for a sweet fix on the go.
Storm in a Teacup
Hidden away in a renovated and expanded dairy in Skerries is this classic ice cream parlour, where Tina McCormack blends her own ice cream. For purists who appreciate a perfectly simple cone over the bells and whistles of Instagrammable treats, this is the place to go.
Classic flavours such as honeycomb, mint chocolate and rum raisin sit alongside Reeses Pieces and Maltease Me (a Malteaser sundae) and come in generous portions. Perfect for strolling the beaches in Skerries, but add a glug of the warm Ferrero Rocher chocolate sauce to keep you warm.
Flying the flag for Italian treats in Dalkey, Bel Gelato has become renowned for their pillowy waves of soft gelato in a range of sumptuous flavours. Always on hand with free samples and tastes, the staff are particularly welcoming and eager to share their work.
The pistachio is a must, as a classic sweet flavour in Italian cuisine, but more unusual offerings make the rounds too, such as charcoal. If you're feeling particularly decadent, a gelato paired with a warm freshly made crepe is a must.
Pointing towards the logical next step in Irish ice cream production is Freezin' Friesian, which as you might gather from the name is an ice cream brand firmly focused on high quality, locally sourced ingredients.
Made with pedigree Friesian cows' milk from Ballyhussa farm, the premium milk is mixed and rolled in front of customers, with homemade flavours such as lemon curd and fresh Wexford strawberries. Started by the Kiersey brothers, the company currently appears at events and festivals.
In the heart of the rugged Burren sits an ice cream parlour doling out some of the softest, most luscious ice cream in Clare and if that contrast isn't appealing enough, just wait until you hear the flavours.
Founded by Bríd and Roger Fahy, this minute cafe churns out delicious ice cream using milk from their shorthorn cows. A traditional set up, perhaps, but with flavours like wild gorse and Burren hazelnuts, this is far from a simple affair.
Jimmy's Homemade Ice Cream
Seeing as you can't buy Jimmy's Homemade Ice Cream over the counter, let this be your excuse to pack a picnic some day with this delectable ice cream as the main event.
Started by Jocelyn Northage from Connemara as a retirement hobby, Jimmy's Homemade Ice Cream uses Carrageen Moss seaweed as a binding agent instead of eggs or gelatin, making it suitable for vegetarians. Root it out in Ballynahinch Castle and the Connemara Sands, and shops like the Connemara Hamper in Clifden, SuperValu in Westport, and Cappagh Stores in Knocknacarra.