It's the time again. Newsagents, convenience stores and sweet shops across the land are preparing for another season of supplying the unrefreshed masses with the best known antidote to being warm, sweaty and thirsty – consuming a 99.
While most 99s are a perfect treat to accompany fine weather, this doesn’t mean there isn’t quite a craft involved in making an exceptional example – indeed, perhaps gourmet 99s tend to be a bit neglected among all this talk of an artisan food revolution today? There’s much to savour and much to hash over when talking about Ireland’s national ice cream – so here's a list of Dublin's finest.
10. The Boathouse Café, Phoenix Park
This tranquil lake-side café in Phoenix Park is the perfect spot to kick back and enjoy a creamy 99 after a day of exploring Dublin’s colossal urban park.
9. Forte’s, Stephen’s Green
Centrally-located: an important resource for the 99-inclined sun bathers of St Stephen’s Green. With lots of different toppings and sauces there’s plenty of room to customise your 99 and generally enhance your wellbeing.
8. Ann’s Bakery, Mary Street
This place has a wealth of history behind it and is fondly regarded among locals. During the summer they take advantage of their great location in the middle of the main shopping district, and set up a machine out front to provide some of the finest 99s around.
7. McGuire’s, Mount Merrion
These guys have been perfecting 99s for years from their south Dublin outpost. Deer Park is a lovely neighbouring natural feature and it’s only a short hop down the road to the coast.
6. Scrumdiddly’s, Dun Laoghaire
Scrumdiddily’s offers a baffling range of ice creams, and hence does an admirable job of competing in the same direct market as Teddy’s just down the road.
With many, many different toppings, sauces and flavours, you should head here if you’re looking for a 99 that could justifiably be called that most awful of words: “zany”. Its sign promises “2,400 combinations”; I don’t quite understand it, but I tip my cap to it.
5. The Orchard Newsagents, Ranelagh
Fly too fast down Sandford Road and you’ll miss this little newsagent. The Orchard is the type of classic, homey shop whose existence seems impressive in the face of chain supermarkets surrounding it. Cherish it; get a beautiful 99 and take a stroll towards Herbert Park. Voilà.
4. The Summit Stores, Howth Hill
While this sits a little behind the other Howth establishment on this list, The Summit Stores has surely the best location of any 99 outlet in the city: perched on top of the city’s finest vista.
3. The Kiosk, Rathgar
This is a delightful little newsagent on Orwell Road, with a strong rep for producing quality 99s. They’ve even added some permanent ice cream-themed décor behind the counter, displaying some impressive commitment to the cause, given the sign's obsolescence for massive portions of the year.
2. The Gem, Howth.
You shouldn’t travel to Bordeaux and not try fine wine, you shouldn’t visit the West and not have a stout, and you definitely shouldn’t take a trip to Howth without getting a 99. This one, located just by the DART station, is a market leader in a competitive local field.
There’s no need to feel like a sucker for walking into the first place you see with an ice cream cone outside it, because this shop serves only tip top 99s. A very close rival to our number one…
1. Teddy’s, Dun Laoghaire
Was it ever going to be any other? Just look at it, the subtle off-white colouring... the tasteful thickness of it. These sumptuous ice creams are nationally-renowned, maybe even internationally, who knows.
A Teddy’s 99 is best when paired with a cycle down the coast from town or a trip up to Killiney Hill, though they taste great even in the midst of traditional July rainfall.