After over two hours of hitting the shops in Killarney, my bladder was ready to throw in the towel, as were my legs. I angled to go back to our hotel room so I could use the toilet in peace then hopefully have a short nap before dinner, but M was having none of that.
M: Let's go get ice cream!
Me: But our hotel's just over there!
M: Ice cream. I'm sure they'll have a bathroom you can use if you're that desperate.
Have I mentioned? M's a total ice cream fiend.
The ice cream parlour was named Murphy's, which is about as Irish as they come, and M wanted to see how it stacked up against all the Japanese ice cream we'd been having. The store did have a very clean bathroom on premises, and when I came back down the stairs to the cup of ice cream waiting for me, I manfully admitted that M had the right of it after all. Lunch had been very sadly dessert-free given the sheer size of the portions, and it was a good thing I hadn't ordered the sticky toffee pudding as the slab of cake turned out to be the size of my face. A small cup of ice cream with two scoops in it though, I could definitely handle. You know how some ice creams taste amazing the first few bites then get overwhelming real fast? We didn't have that problem here, and after our first cup we wound up getting an extra two scoops each. Each flavour was fresh and creamy, but so gloriously light.
My ice cream of choice from age 4 to 9 was the luridly coloured Rainbow Paddle Pop, which left an indelible mark on my psyche, most clearly felt when I first looked at the display case to pick my scoops and was taken aback by how most of the flavours seemed the same blandly vanilla hue. Murphy's serves artisanal, handmade ice creams, which means no colourings, bottled flavourings or preservatives are added to their base mixture of fresh Kerry cream, hand-cracked free-range eggs, milk and cane sugar. So, a lot of the ice creams look similar, but taste-wise are entirely different creatures altogether. The Rum & Raisin for instance, has raisins suspended throughout that have been soaked overnight in proper rum, and biting through each plump raisin brings a lovely hint of booziness.
Between the eight scoops of ice cream we swapped around and the counter staff very kindly providing us with tasting samples, I tried every single flavour they had in store. Everything was really good, but Toasted Irish Oats emerged a winner in both our books. Interestingly, even though certain flavour combinations were clearly perfect matches (Like Chocolate and their wonderfully rich Blackcurrant Sorbet), no matter what you got the ice cream flavours complemented each other rather than feeling like an odd mish-mash on the tongue. The both of us just sat there going "This is amazing." in between bites of ice cream, and left the store totally blissed out.
Given the dearth of preservatives, you can only find the ice cream in three locations within Ireland (So much for air freighting to Singapore!). We'd missed their store in Dublin, but we weren't going to make the same mistake when we got to Dingle the next day. With two coaches worth of people in the chippy, which seemed to be the only restaurant open for lunch at 11.45 am, there wasn't enough time for us to eat our ice cream in their Dingle outlet, so I was sent on an ice cream fetching mission while we waited for our fish. Their staff were so kind, sticking my orders in coffee cups with lids on to protect the ice cream once they realized it had started to drizzle outside. Such lovely people, and such good ice cream.