Tuesday 25 October 2016

From New York to Dingle - the Murphy brothers and their dream of a world class Irish ice-cream

Published 17/08/2016 | 12:28

Sean and Kieran Murphy had a unique dream.  They wanted to make the best ice-cream in the world.  Except they had no ice-cream making experience.  And they wanted to do it in the most westerly part of the wettest country in Europe.

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Think of Dingle and you think of rugged coastline, wild Atlantic waves, and a quilted rural landscape.  Sweltering-hot days running to the ice-cream parlour do not come to mind.

But for the Murphy brothers, born and raised in an Irish-American family in New York, ice-cream is about happiness and magical times.  What better place to launch an ice-cream business than in their family’s homeland and a country with the best dairy in the world?

“It was stressful - we were starting from scratch after all – but it was exciting and fun and the possibilities were endless which made it energising,” explains Sean Murphy. 

“We developed our product from home with a little ice-cream maker and when we got that right we rented a shop in Dingle and painted it.  When the ice-cream machine finally arrived from the Bronx, it broke down.  This was the middle of May, the sun was shining, tourists were arriving into the town and people were asking when were we opening?”

But they did open their doors that summer of 2000 and word of their ice-cream quickly spread and queues were forming out the door.  Murphy’s Ice Cream was born.

“We set out to be the best in the world - and why not?  Why can’t it be done from Dingle as opposed to anywhere else?  Ireland is unique and there is so much more confidence here now where it’s obvious the country belongs at the world table.”

Now with six shops, including ones in Dublin, Killarney and their first one based internationally in Mallorca, Spain, their product is moving beyond just the Irish shores.  From New York to Dingle and further afield, the Murphy brothers’ ice-cream dream has become more than a reality.

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