Best 99: A cool location and a free extra Flake

McGreevy’s in Westport has three steps to ice-cream heaven

Ronan and Donard McGreevy. Photograph: Brian Cross

Ronan and Donard McGreevy. Photograph: Brian Cross

Thu, Jul 17, 2014, 10:55

You could argue that McGreevy’s newsagents in Westport has an unfair advantage in the ice-cream wars. For one, there’s its location: a town voted by Irish Times readers two years ago as the Best Place to Live in Ireland. For another it’s in a prime position, on the corner of Bridge Street, next to the Mall that runs alongside the Carrowbeg river, a perfect place to stroll while licking a 99. And the shop is only a few doors from Clew Bay Cycles, which rents out bikes to many visitors to Westport. After a long day’s cycle on the very popular Great Western Greenway, it’s almost a tradition to stop at McGreevy’s for a cone before leaving your bike back.

But it’s not just the location that keeps ice-cream lovers coming to this corner shop. “I said to the staff here, ‘Let’s give three things: value for money, a decent cone, high quality, and, customers will come back,” says owner Donard McGreevy, who runs the shop with his wife, Phyl.

The shop boasts one of the few self- pasteurising machines in the country, a Carpigiani, and it is properly cleaned and sterilised twice a week to ensure tip-top hygiene. The resulting cones have earned McGreevy’s lots of rave tweets, and a high ranking on Showoff’s 99 Finder app’s leaderboard.

The shop was set up by Donard’s grandparents in 1904, and two of Donard’s sons, Ronan and Donard jnr, are the fourth generation of McGreevys to work in the shop. Donard is also an estate agent, and is keenly aware that Westport has weathered much of the downturn. “When you walk around some of the small towns like Charlestown and Kiltimagh, they’re devastated. We are lucky in Westport. We have one of the best packages for tourism. And we have the Greenway.”

Last month the Westport Festival of Music and Food brought big crowds into the town, and next week is the annual Croagh Patrick weekend, which will bring pilgrims in from all over. There’s an added incentive to reach the summit this year. During Croagh Patrick weekend, take a selfie at the church on the top of Croagh Patrick, show it to staff in McGreevy’s, and they’ll stick an extra Flake on your 99 for free.

 

In other 99 news 

Paul Connellan emails that “John O’Donnell’s in Buncrana has the best 99 in the world. Pink and white ice-cream, excellent texture and no artificially sweet, loads-of-sugar flavour.” Hmm, we don’t hold with no fancy colours in our 99s, but this sounds yummy. The pink-and-white 99s in Buncrana also got the thumbs-up from Pa Deeney: “There is nothing better than getting a delicious ice cream, going for a stroll along the beautiful beachside and enjoying the views of Lough Swilly, and the historic Fr Hegarty’s Rock.”

To get involved email best99@irishtimes.com, tweet or Instagram your photos using #best99 and download Showoff’s free 99 Finder app

 

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