Ice Cream News for the Last Weeks of Summer

School is back in session and that Labor Day in the States has come and gone. School uniforms are in and white shoes are out. Ice cream, however, needs not live by the calendar in the same manner as clothing and school supplies.

While the weather remains a bit balmy, and if the sun decides to show its face, there is no reason ice cream treats shouldn’t be enjoyed. Last week when it was still “technically” summer, and the sun and temperatures backed up the calendar, we made two trips to Dun Laoghaire’s seaside for two very different ice cream experiences.

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My Cousin Teddy at Teddy’s in May. All Teddys should get a free 99. Right?!

The classic Irish ice cream cone is the 99, and the best place to get it is Teddy’s in Dun Laoghaire. It’s simple, creamy, cool, and tastes, literally, like summer. The 99 always has a Cadbury’s flake stuck in one side and when and how a person decides to eat the flake and cone combo can tells a lot about their personality.

Queue’s for Teddy’s go up the road on most weekend afternoons, summer or not. The service is efficient and everyone comes away happy. There’s no flair. Teddy’s doesn’t need flair.

Flair is the order of the day at the newest Dun Laoghaire ice cream mecca, Scrumdiddly’s. Scrumdiddly’s also has queues out the door on most days. Allow me a digression: one of my favorite things about Irish people is their ability to eat ice cream no matter what the weather. Summer, of course, calls for it, but even on a rainy October Sunday afternoon by the sea there will be plenty of people with ice cream cones. These ice cream habits are another reason I fit in so well here.

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Irish Summer Classics: Ice Scream and Socks ‘n’ Shorts

Scrumdiddly’s is not so conveniently located for people traveling to DL in a car. Parking is harder to come by. C and I managed it on a Tuesday afternoon and though we found a spot for the car, the queue was still around the corner.

It’s more of a sweetshop than an ice cream place. The idea is that you get to put sweets of your choosing into a tub of ice cream. They are called “tubs”. It’s similar to the famous Blizzard at Dairy Queen in the States. There is nothing simple about it. You don’t come to Scrumdiddly’s for a vanilla cone.

C was sent in to do the ordering, and he felt slightly overwhelmed. He returned to me with two options: tubs of sticky sweet, gooey coldness. One was slightly coconut flavored, the other chocolate and cookies.

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There IS Ice Cream in There, I Promise

I’m nursing a baby up to eight times a day so most things taste amazing to me. I’m also an ice cream fan from way back. I mention these facts because I might not be the best judge of quality at the moment. Both tubs of goodness were tasty, to be sure, but both were a bit over-the-top. After a few bites both C and I felt we would have been happier with just a 99 from down the road. What it came down to (C noticed this, I did not, could not in my state, but I do agree) is the fact that the quality of the ice cream at Scrumdiddly’s does not come close to Teddy’s. But you don’t go to Scrumdiddly’s for the ice cream. You go for the ability to personalize your ice cream with your favorite sweets and creative culinary panache.

There is absolutely a place for both of these ice cream venues. Some days you feel like a simple 99, other days you need to add cookies, gummies, and fudge sauce. If you find yourself needing both on one day? It’s about a ten minute walk along the sea wall from one venue to the other. So treat yourself!

Ice Cream News for the Last Weeks of Summer

The Purty Kitchen Supper Club

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“It’s like a wedding!” said my friend, Ruth, as we all sat down at a long table in front of a stage. She wasn’t really speaking about the fact that there was a stage; it was more that we were at a table with 15 of our close friends about to eat a meal and enjoy some music.

The Purty Kitchen in Dun Laoghaire (that’s Dun Leery for American readers) has been around for ages. I have never had reason to go. It’s that little bit far away from home (especially without a car) and that little bit expensive. Last Saturday, though, the incredible We Banjo 3 playing a gig there was the perfect excuse to get in.

We weren’t eating in the restaurant proper. There is a Supper Club on the weekends (and a few cheeky weeknights) upstairs. There are about twenty-twenty-five tables of varying sizes dotted around the big open room. There is a stage at the front, a bar at the back.

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The menu is a smaller/simpler version of the one from the restaurant downstairs. I had a smoked fish paté and duck for my dinner. Most of the men had chicken wings to start then the lamb shank. A few friends had the goats cheese and spinach filo pastry, and a few had cod. You get the idea. It isn’t food that knocks anyone’s socks off; but people aren’t necessarily there for the amazing food.

The food was NOT bad, by the way. It just wasn’t stand out fabulous. I did eat all the duck and was very happy.

We were all thrilled by the music though. It is a wonderful place to see music because the audience is basically on stage too. A whole new crowd of revelers files in after dinner and can sit or stand around the bar. Ireland being Ireland, there is no AC, so when the weather warms up and the band gets going and the audience is digesting . . . it gets a bit warm. Don’t wear too many clothes in the summer months.

I kind of wish they had started the music a little earlier. Maybe even during our dinner. There was a bit of a lull, then new people arriving . . . yeah, it actually did feel just like an Irish wedding.

I recommend keeping an eye on what’s coming up at The Purty Kitchen. If it’s someone you like, it is a great place to see them. And please, please check out We Banjo 3. They are awesome.

That's Us. Enjoying Ourselves.
That’s Us. Enjoying Ourselves.
The Purty Kitchen Supper Club

Bloomsday from the Front

An Early 20th Century Dun Laoghaire Structure
An Early 20th Century Dun Laoghaire Structure
I was down in Dun Laoghaire and Glasthule this morning. The main street is full of older gentlemen in bow ties and bowlers. There are women in large hats with feathers and flowers. Some have parasols. There are vintage cars lining the streets. It’s Halloween for Joyce fans!
At one café there are well known actors reading out sections from “The Book” all day long. It’s the high holy day for Joyce scholars. Saint James Joyce rules the day.
Painted on Pub Windows
Painted on Pub Windows
I wonder if it makes people feel very satisfied to celebrate Bloomsday. A great majority of humans have not–even cannot–read Ulysses. Some read it with help from a class or reading group. These dressed up revelers in Dublin today are allowed to smugly dress up as and play out scenes from the Great Book. Seemingly they have all read–and understood!–it?
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Vintage Cars Out For The Day
Vintage Cars Out For The Day
It feels quite American and not very Irish to dress up and parade around town. A dress up day for intellectual snobs. Is that and unfair assessment?
Even Shop Windows Get Into The Spirit
Even Shop Windows Get Into The Spirit
Absolutely Ulysses was and is a groundbreaking novel. I just find it amazing that every day hundreds of Joyce fans get dressed up to play out the novel. It is fun to look at, and certainly it’s nice to have a diversion to the normal daily routine. Outside of the actual participants, most Dubliners seem not to care that much. There certainly are not any young people (under 30s) dressed up as Leopold and Molly. I wonder if Bloomsday is a timeless venture?
Molly and Leopold
Molly and Leopold
Having said that, there is not another book in the whole world that has an entire day set aside to celebrate it. There are plenty of JK Rowling fans who play Quidditch and belong to the Hogwarts Houses online, etc, but there is not a Harry Potter Day.
I suppose anyone who has read and understood Ulysses deserves a day to dress up and brag about it.
Bloomsday from the Front