25 of the best ice-cream parlours in Ireland
Whether you prefer classic 99s or unusual artisan creations, Jillian Bolger has the top spots around the country to get a taste of summer
Sunday's Ice-Cream and Coffee Bar
What: Kinsale's the kind of place you'd expect to find good ice-cream - a harbour town with a gourmet reputation. Thankfully Sunday's steps up to the mark with its choice of 18 flavours of ice-cream as well as sundaes, shakes and desserts. The '50s-style décor is gorgeous - turquoise booths, a checkerboard floor, colourful stools and plenty of shiny chrome. It's a popular spot for tourists and locals with queues out the door on sunny days.
Where: 1 Pearse Street, Kinsale, Co Cork.
What: Aussie Ice has been in Dundrum Town Centre since 2005. On a busy day they can sell over 1,000 scoops of ice-cream: such high turnover means their product is nearly always freshly made. Owner Kevin Cahill trained as a chocolate maker and ice-cream maker in Belgium and Holland and all the store's ice-creams and sorbets are made themselves. Using the best ingredients - locally produced honeycomb pieces, Tahitian vanilla, Belgian chocolate and fresh fruit for the sorbets - the result is high-end excellence. Despite the wide range of flavours most customers go for Belgian chocolate or vanilla.
Where: Level 1, Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin 16.
Morelli's of Portstewart
What: Beginning life as an ice-cream parlour in 1927, this Portstewart address has been in the Morelli family ever since, and while it for now offers full restaurant menus, it's most renowned as an ice-cream experience. You'll spot various Morelli outlets throughout Ulster, all selling their own ice-cream made in their Coleraine factory. In Portstewart there are 20 flavours available on any day but there are over 50 available from the factory, from vanilla and honeycomb to sea salty caramel.
Where: 53-56 The Promenade, Portstewart, Co Derry.
What: Since 1950, a walk on Dun Laoghaire Pier and a Teddy's ice-cream have been synonymous. It's a no-frills set-up - an old-style sweet shop with a special hatch for passing out the legendary vanilla whip cone topped with a Flake. The recipe has been the same for 66 years - a classic, creamy vanilla free-from artificial flavourings or preservatives. They sell other flavours too and while queues are common, no one minds the wait at this Dublin institution. You can now buy a Teddy's cone at the end of the pier, or in Bray too, but nothing beats the nostalgia of the original serving hatch.
Where: 1a Windsor Tce, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.
Mooch Natural Frozen Yogurt
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What: Frozen yogurt has muscled in on the ice-cream scene and Mooch offers customers a gluten-free selection of brands. Customise your tub starting with natural, strawberry, chocolate, salted caramel, blueberry or passion fruit before adding all kinds of toppings, from healthy fruit and nuts to sugary treats. Natural yogurt flavour with strawberries and granola is a big hit as is Natural Born Fueler, a smoothie comprising coconut milk, banana, protein, Mejdool dates, cacao powder and peanut butter, from Rozanna Purcell's Natural Born Feeder Range. Mooch serves a dairy-free tropical flavour in their Dawson and Dundrum branches.
Where: Unit 259 Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, D15; 60 Dawson Street, D2; Pembroke District, Dundrum Town Centre, D16.
Scoops Ice-cream Parlour
What: Established by Kerstin Murray on Ballina Quay in 2010, Agata Baczkowska took over the little ice-cream shop and café in 2014. With a few tables inside and out, this homely café sells 20 different flavours carefully chosen from four different suppliers. Honeycomb, chocolate and bubblegum are their top sellers but locals like their Eton Mess and affogato too (a shot of hot espresso poured over vanilla ice-cream.) There are scones, crêpes, cakes and coffee on the menu too.
Where: 5 Ballina Quay, Ballina, Co Tipperary, (061) 622471.
What: The lovely folk behind Cork city's popular Idaho Café, Mairead and Richard Jacob, branched out into ice-cream in 2015. True to their roots they've poured love and care and good service into this new venture, a graffiti-clad window hatch with a single bench and few seats out front. Offering vanilla soft-serve, with a choice of toppings, they customise a locally made ice-cream using "vanilla pods and other secret ingredients." Toppings are sublime - maybe try Idaho's own honeycomb, West Cork strawberry shortcake or toffee butterscotch. Their most unusual flavour is salty, bacony crackerdust and at Christmas they make a caramelised Christmas pudding and cinnamon and walnut praline.
Where: 19 Maylor Street, Cork.
What: Ice-cream lovers drive out of their way to come and sample Fabio's legendary gelati, handmade with love and care at his tiny Sligo town café. With 12 sublime flavours on display, which change daily, Fabio Boni, who hails from Florence, makes up to 150 different flavours of gelati according to his mood and the seasons. (Gelato is denser and creamier than ice-cream while also being lower in fat.) Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry sorbet are perennial favourites but his signature best-sellers include bull's blood (spicy orange dark chocolate, dairy-free), pina colada sorbet (fresh pineapple, coconut milk and rum, dairy-free) and the sensational mascarpone cheese, caramelised figs and toasted walnut ice-cream. The man's a genius and his ice-cream is made from scratch without any industry short-cuts. You want the real taste of Italy? You'll find it here.
Where: 2A Wine Street, Sligo Town, Co Sligo.
What: Renzo Rossi opened his colourful seafront gelataria in 2010, with its open front and plenty of tables spilling onto the pavement. Alongside fresh, homemade flavours of salted caramel, raspberry cheesecake and pistachio, expect typical Italian classics like Di-saronno, an ameretto treat, or 'opera Italiana', packed with several kinds of nuts. Open from March 1 to November 1, they also offer wonderful sorbets.
Where: 1, Marlborough Terrace, Strand Road, Bray, Co Wicklow.
What: The perfect stop-off point en route to Dunmore, Jaybee, a traditional local store, has served the community for decades and was taken over by the Amish Mennonite Community in 1997. Famous for their classic whipped vanilla ice-cream - they only sell the one flavour from Angelito - you can customise with mini mallows or Smarties or Flakes. Tourists and locals reckon it's the best cone in the country and like to grab a picnic table out front to enjoy the taste.
Where: Ballinakina, Dunmore Road, Waterford.
Scrumdiddly's Irish Ice-cream
What: If you ever imagined your favourite sweet treat with your favourite flavour of ice-cream you can be pretty sure the folks at Scrumdiddly's can deliver. With branches in Donabate and Dun Laoghaire, Darren and Jenny McCormack's fun parlours are the Willy Wonka's of the ice-cream world. They sell just 11 flavours but the choice of toppings and sauces gives you some 2,400 lip-smacking combinations to work your way through. (Fancy Maltesers, jelly beans and Nutella sauce on vanilla ice-cream? You got it.) The ice-cream is made for them in Cavan and Cork, while all their delicious sauces are homemade.
Where: Main Street, Donabate and Crofton Road, Dun Laoghaire.
What: In many ways the Murphy brothers, Sean and Kieran, kick-started Ireland's ice-cream revolution when they began making their own ice-cream in 2000, using milk from the indigenous Kerry cow - one of the oldest surviving dairy breeds in the world. Their dairy-free sorbets are made with distilled Dingle rainwater. Avoiding colourings and flavourings, artificial or otherwise, news soon spread of the unique quality and flavours of their product. Serving 16 flavours - 12 regular plus four special flavours made up on the spot - including brown bread, lavender or Dingle gin, with their top-sellers caramel, chocolate and sea salt.
Where: Wicklow St, Dublin 2; Strand St, Dingle; The Pier Dingle; Main St, Killarney; Santa Catalina Palma de Mallorca; Cliffs of Moher (visitor centre concession - opening soon.)
Café Linnalla Ice-cream
What: Brid and Roger Fahy are the real deal - dairy farmers using their own milk and cream to produce excellent Irish ice-cream. Open since 2011, they offer indoor and outdoor seating at their simple café and ice-cream parlour. Making 30 flavours, they sell nine at any one time, often using local flavours and foraged ingredients - Burren hazelnuts is a best-seller alongside more unusual flavours like wild gorse. Seasonal flavours are a draw, starting with rhubarb and finishing with pumpkin. Nominated as one of the 50 secrets of the Wild Atlantic Way by Fáilte Ireland, they also offer farm tours to showcase the hard-working cows that produce their delicious ice-cream.
Where: New Quay, Burren, Co Clare.
Fantastic Flavours Ice-cream Parlour
What: Any place that sells ice-cream called Delicious Donald Trumpalicious or Smitten Clinton deserves our vote! Miceál O'Hurley has been making artisan ice-cream since 1983 but only opened Fantastic Flavours in Youghal in 2013. A former Airborne Ranger and decorated veteran of the US Army, he's since turned his hobby of ice-cream-making into a business. Selling 42 super flavours, including seasonal treats like spiced harvest pumpkin for autumn, mulled wine at Christmas and 'Wexford strawberry fields forever' for summer, he also teaches ice-cream-making every Sunday (by booking via message on Facebook.) Best-sellers include 'good golly it's Guinness & nougat' for adults and 'smurfberry blast' for kids.
Where: 74 North Main Street, Youghal, Co Cork.
Glen House ice-cream parlour
What: Donegal's Clonmany isn't just home to a top B&B, Glen House, but also Sonia McGonigle's gorgeous Rose Tearoom, a vintage-styled café and new ice-cream parlour. Nab an outdoor seat in the gardens and enjoy the views across spectacular Inishowen peninsula. Serving seven flavours of Mullins family-produced ice-cream, from Kilrea, Co Derry, the parlour is handily located at the entrance to the beautiful Glenevin Waterfall.
Where: Glen House, Straid, Clonmany, Co Donegal.
What: Ranelagh's old Orchard newsagents has undergone a major change, revealing itself last month as a cool new gelato shop, Scoop. Calling itself a 'dessert parlour' they also serve crêpes, shakes and coffees but we're most interested in the homemade gelato. Think great traditional flavours like pistachio or orange and more modern ones like Oreo or bubblegum. The owners trained with master gelato-maker Giacomo Schiavon and clearly have great taste in design. We love the décor and jaunty deckchairs out front!
Where: 22 Sandford Road, Dublin 6.
Storm in a Teacup
What: Tina McCormack's adorable little ice-cream shop has been pleasing locals and day-trippers for seven years at the mouth of Skerries harbour. She expanded by renovating an original dairy into an ice-cream factory where they produce their own delicious ice-cream. Mint chocolate, crunchy honeycomb and old-fashioned rum and raisin are favourites, and customers love their homemade Ferrero Rocher chocolate sauce served warm and poured over anything you fancy.
Where: The Harbour, Skerries, North Dublin.
What: You'll find chocoholics of every ilk hanging about in O'Connell Street's unique chocolate emporium. Alongside creating your own bar from a choice of 21 ingredients (ranging from jelly beans and popcorn to Oreos and nuts) using three different chocolates (milk, dark, white) they also sell 10 flavours of Featherbed Luxury Ice-cream from Co Wexford. Sundaes are a speciality: how about chocolate and vanilla ice-cream with crushed choc-chip cookies, white chocolate buttons, cookies and cream sauce topped with fresh cream, for starters?
Where: 65-66 O'Connell street (beside the Spire).
What: Any chocoholic worth their salt is a regular at Drury Street's Cocoa Atelier, which celebrates it's 6th birthday this month. But did you know they sell ice-cream too! Dark Venezuelan chocolate, mango and passion fruit and sea salt caramel with fleur de sel are all popular flavours but you can also choose dark Venezuelan chocolate with orange oil, mocha coffee and chestnut honey cream, as well as two sorbets. Developed by a farmhouse producer in Co Tipperary who use milk and cream from their pedigree Holstein/Friesian herd, Cocoa Atelier's exclusive ice-cream recipes are inspired by their own range of handmade chocolates.
Where: 30 Drury Street, Dublin 2.
Gelato Di Natura
What: Don't be surprised if you've never heard of these guys - they've been trading as Suso since 2014 but recently rebranded with a name that reflects the premium ice-cream they've always sold - Gelato di Natura. Run by Declan and Tara Matthews, the store offers an impressive 28 flavours of real Italian ice-cream which can be taken away or eaten on stools indoors or sitting out on O'Connell Street. Cookies, vanilla and chocolate are popular but you'll find unusual flavours like walnut and figs and great summer sorbets in this new-look parlour.
Where: 6 Upper O'Connell Street, Dublin 1.
What: Our love affair with Steps of Roma's classic pizza slices saw it joined by little brother, Sweet Nosh, in 2012. Like it's older well-established big brother, this café is low-key and unashamedly continental in style serving up traditional Italian pastries and great coffee alongside Italian gelato. Look out for creamy pistachio, vanilla, tiramisu or tangy Italian lemon and be prepared to linger: the authentic layout and vibe will transport you back to Italy. Plus, it's a just a short stroll from Grafton Street, and there's rarely queues.
Where: 1 Chatham Street, Dublin 2.
Mammy Johnston's Ice-cream Parlour
What: More New England than Sligo, the cool clapboard exterior of Mammy Johnston's Ice-cream Parlour houses a stylish seafront café plying seriously good ice-cream. Grab a seat with a view out front and tuck into one of 40 amazing flavours, like honeycomb (which scooped an international award in Italy - no mean feat), Oreo and even dairy-free chocolate. Everything is made in-house and you can watch the ice-cream made during your visit to this spacious and lovely shop.
Where: Strandhill, Co Sligo.
What: Technically not an ice-cream or a parlour, we couldn't omit super Irish dairy-free ice-cream brand Nobó, which has opened a 99s pop-up at Dublin's Green Beards juicery. Using a blend of avocado and coconut milk, Nobó is the only Irish dairy-free ice-cream on the market. Their flavours are multi-award-winning and contain no gums, stabilisers or refined white sugar. They make five flavours such as Irish salted caramel, passion fruit & mango and fresh lemon as well as seasonal limited editions. Their mint humbug flavour for winter 2015 was delicious while they'll be serving berry & lavender at festivals this summer.
Where: Supermarkets and health stores, and at 68 Lower Baggot Stree, Dublin, until September.
The Best of Italy
What: The lucky denizens of Ranelagh have an incredible selection of Italy's finest ingredients on their doorstep in this aptly named shop. Alongside premium pasta, cheeses, baked goods, vegetables and wine you'll find a rather superb ice-cream counter offering 10 creamy flavours including mouth-watering chocolate and fruity strawberry served in indulgent chocolate-dipped cones. Fair warning though: you may just pop in for one scoop you but will leave with far more than ice-cream if you arrive hungry!
Where: 37 Dunville Avenue, Ranelagh.
Jinny Joe's sundaes
What: Crumlin locals have been enjoying Jinny Joe's extravagant sundaes for quite some time with a second branch opening in the shiny new Bullring Market on Meath Street just before Christmas. Both outlets do a mean line in OTT ice-cream confections, including layering all your favourite treats, maybe Bountys, Oreos, Ferrero Rocher or berries, layered on top of scoops of ice-cream with fresh cream. The candy-coloured interior looks lovely though, rather dangerously, their show-stopping desserts can also be taken away.
Where: 2 Herberton Road Crumlin and The Bullring Market, Meath Street, Dublin 8.