The taste of a chilled San Miguel on a Spanish southern coast beach, is very different to the taste of it on a winter’s evening in Dublin. For some of us we learnt this the hard way. Although the beer is exactly the same (unlike Guinness) and there boasts no export draft under a different recipe. A San Miguel is a San Miguel, but it will never taste quite as nice as it does consumed on a beach as the sun sets over Marbella’s hills.
Ultimately, beautiful surroundings have the peculiar ability to enhance an experience, even taste.
Therefore, is it any surprise that a 99 ice cream from Teddy’s in Dun Laoghaire is widely accepted as the best 99 ice cream obtainable anywhere this side of Leinster?
If you are from outside of Dublin, all you need to know is that Teddy’s is an institution, and Dun Laoghaire’s favourite ice cream since the 1950s. Since then, it has been an ever-present force for countless people, cemented by memories of childhood, first relationships, family life and retirement.
For some, including this intrepid reporter who sampled one such 99 last week, it is arguably the best 99 available on this whole island.
Admittedly the 99 is most likely made with the exact same machine as most other 99s on the island, but the real beauty of a Teddy’s 99 arises from the fact that there is not a single more beautiful place within the Pale to complement the cone, than the Dun Laoghaire sea front and famous East Pier, which undoubtedly enhance its taste.
Outside of the Dun Laoghaire sea front, the Teddy’s 99 is probably a lot more underwhelming, but as the sun shines and the boats glisten and bobble within the two parallel east and west piers, there is no smoother or better-whipped 99.
The East Pier, constructed out of locally mined granite, is just under a mile long and takes between 10 and 15 minutes to walk. Similarly to the boats and the sea, the granite reflects the sun’s light with sparkling crystals, blinding the eye on certain days. A stall at the beginning of the pier can provide you with a snack of fresh fish and chips, while the end of the pier can offer you one of the aforementioned famous 99 ice creams.
Dotted along the two-platformed pier are countless benches, often erected in memory of fellow dedicated Dun Laoghaire pier enthusiasts. Pause to rest on one of these benches and you will quickly understand just why there are so many. A delightfully renovated bandstand is another attractive feature of the pier, with its fairy lights illuminating the surrounding section of the pier when the sun goes down. On that note, walk the full pier at night and it is just as beautiful as it is on its brightest day. If the view from the pier of Dublin’s softly lit seafront coast doesn’t help you realise Dun Laoghaire is your next favourite place, then frankly this article was a waste of time.