CAROLINA BEACH—Ice cream from over 3,500 miles across the Atlantic has landed in Carolina Beach.
Bringing over a family recipe from Kerry, Ireland, Celtic Creamery is now open on North Lake Park Boulevard.
Jeff Hogan, who also owns Hang Ten Grill roughly a third of a mile down the street, was finally able to convince the owner of the “best ice cream in Ireland” to duplicate the recipe in the states.
Irish recipe, made in Carolina Beach
Formulated after Joanna McCarthy’s “Sundaes,” McCarthy’s Ice Cream in Ballybunion, Ireland, Hogan has received an Irish blessing.
“I kept asking her, let me take this ice cream to America,” Hogan said. “Finally, two years ago when we were over there, she said, ‘If you can find a building then I think I’m ready to do it.’”
The building Hogan found previously hosted Touché, a woman’s clothing store that occupied the corner store in the Carolina Beach business district for nearly 25 years. Residents may notice Touché’s signature palm trees, repainted and revamped by McCarthy herself during a visit to bring the new store to life.
Hogan said he visited dairy farms across the state to find the creamiest milk and butter to get the Irish treat right.
“We went over and actually trained in Ireland in her store for a couple of weeks in April,” Hogan said. “She came here and helped us make our whole first batch.” McCarthy now has a flavor–”Joanna Banana”–named after her in the new creamery.
So, what makes Irish ice cream, Irish?
“The creaminess of the butter… it’s so apparent when you try it,” Hogan said. “Irish ice cream is much creamier than American ice cream.”
With 2,500 square feet to cover in the corner store, Hogan partnered with his fiancée, Jennifer Taylor, to help fill the space.
“When we bought the building we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, 2,500 square feet, it’s going to look empty all the time if there’s just tables and chairs,'” Hogan said.
Taylor said she had always dreamed of opening a boutique, and chose the name “Seaside Shenanigans” to continue on with the location’s Irish theme.
“I just wanted something for the locals to have,” Taylor said. “If they needed a house warming gift, or something for a baby shower or a quick birthday gift, they didn’t have to leave the island.”
Her side of the store features home decor, gifts, jewelry, lotions, items for children and candy to compliment the creamery’s custom treats.
Creamiest on the island
After living on the island since ’89 after graduating from UNCW, Hogan has been connected to the business culture on the beach. With several other ice cream shops and notably, Britt’s Donut Shop on the Boardwalk, Hogan said his treats are “the creamiest on the island.”
All ice cream, doughnuts, cream and flavors are made in-house.
“The only thing that’s similar to Britt’s is it’s just one flavor, although in the off-season we’ll probably do pumpkin spice doughnuts,” Hogan said.
It wouldn’t be an Irish creamery without tinting its donuts green when St. Patrick’s Day comes around.
“We’ve only been open four days and we’ve seen people three out of the four days so I think that’s a good sign,” he said.
Celtic Creamery and Seaside Shenanigans will be open Sunday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. until 8 “ish” p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays until 10 “ish” p.m., from now until Memorial Day.
After May 28, the businesses will remain open every day from 11 a.m. until 10 “ish” p.m.
Johanna Ferebee can be reached at email@example.com or @j__ferebee on Twitter