Our Spotlight section features Irish food businesses and individuals who focus on locally produced products and traditional Irish food.

James Kirwan of Cúlcow

James Kirwan operates Cúlcow Artisan Ice Cream, shipping frosty goodness to dairy lovers all over Ireland.

In his own words…

What’s the history of Cúlcow?
We started production in Oct 2014. Prior to that I ran a farm consultancy business for many years and also lived in The Bronx for quite a few years. I’ve always had an interest in farm diversification, alternative enterprises and adding value to farm produce at local level. The name comes from a play on the Gaelic word cúl which means a goal or score in hurling but can also mean the ‘back of the cow’.

What’s the most important aspect of well‐made ice cream?
Good quality ingredients and plenty of them.

Are your cows a particular breed and are there benefits in their milk for ice cream?
The milk is mainly from friesian cows which is the most common breed in Ireland.

What are some of your crazier flavours?
Guinness, marscapone, green tea ice cream and of course champagne sorbet.
Cúlcow sellers
What’s your best seller?
Vanilla is always popular but honeycomb, caramel and amaretto have their moments.

What are the advantages to producing ice cream in Ireland on your own farm?
Our farm is an organic drystock and suckler cow farm, which means we don’t produce our own milk. We get the milk from neighbouring farmers during the milking season or from the farmers creamery at other times. We have all the advantages of rural life, having the production unit on the farm, and of course no parking issues!

What’s something a layman wouldn’t know about selling ice cream?
If I told you that then all the ice cream makers would have me banished from the Ice Cream Makers Club! Seriously...
Honeycomb Ice Cream
How do you ship ice cream?
Using dry ice, insulated containers and a good courier.

Can you tell us about your recent award?

We won the Gold Medal for best newcomer but also got a Diploma of Merit in the overall competition at the Ice Cream Alliance annual awards. The ICA is the umbrella organisation for all small- and medium-sized ice cream producers in Ireland and Britain so we are thrilled that our ice cream is up there with the best of them.

Are there any points you’d like to drive home about Cúlcow?
It’s made with real milk and cream, free range eggs and full whole fruit, no artificial stuff or substitute constituents. It’s made in small batches on our farm in the heart of rural Ireland and you can have it delivered right to your door, with your own personalised message on each tub!