The concept of Leamhain Non-Dairy Ice Cream was first imagined in London, March 2020. The restaurant where Conor worked as a sous chef closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Conor spent his days alone in a small flat in South West London, while his partner Louise worked as an intensive care nurse. One day while eating a tub of non-dairy ice cream, Conor noticed the product was too icy, had poor texture, and lacked the desired creaminess you'd want in pint of ice cream. Having made many batches of dairy and non-dairy ice cream in various award-winning establishments, Conor had high standards and what was on the market didn’t meet them. This sparked an idea and from then on, Conor endeavoured to bring high-end, restaurant-quality desserts directly to the consumer.
After arriving back in Ireland in April 2020, Conor and Louise spent two months isolating in Killorglin in the south-west of Ireland. Conor's family has extensive history in this picturesque little Kerry town, going back generations. County Kerry is where the family spent many summers growing up, running over the sand dunes of Rossbeigh Beach, eating 99’s from the family-owned petrol station in Glenbeigh, and cycling around the Killarney National Park. Conor has always felt inspired and spiritually-connected to the breathtakingly beautiful Iveragh Peninsula.
Being back in Killorglin inspired Conor and provided him with the opportunity to research how best to realise his aspirations and dreams for his own non-dairy frozen dessert company. Long hours were dedicated to researching the science behind why dairy ice cream tastes the way it does, how it reacts with various components and how the quality of fat can influence the final product. After many months of trial and error and countless sleepless nights, Conor finally developed a recipe he was proud of and felt confident to share. This base recipe would act as a key foundation upon which he could create countless flavour combinations.
Sitting in the garden taking in the fresh Kerry air and gazing up at the sunny slopes of Carrauntoohil in the distance, Conor couldn't help but feel moved by how stunningly beautiful this county is. This is when the name ‘Leamhain’ was born; this is the Irish name for the famous River Laune, which flows from the Killarney Lakes through the town of Killorglin, then out to sea. Conor chose the name as Gaeilge, due to his passion for the Irish language and his family history of Múinteoirí Bunscoile, fluent as Gaeilge. Leamhain is also an ode to the people of Killorglin, who accepted Conor and Louise in their community for the three months they lived there. It is really important for us at Leamhain to incorporate and encourage the use of our national language in our small business.
Having many friends and family members who are gluten intolerant, they voiced their need for a gluten free ice cream, as too many of the current products on the market contained wheat. Every flavour of Leamhain Ice Cream created is 100% gluten and nut free, without compromising in any way on the quality, flavour and taste of the product. Leamhain is passionate about bringing the consumer a high-quality product. Our promise to our customers is that each and every product is also completely plant-based. Just because a person does not eat dairy, gluten or nuts, does not mean that the quality of their dessert should be in any way less than the dairy, gluten or nut version.
And that is what birthed Ireland's first and only vegan, gluten-free and nut-free ice cream, of which we are so proud. We hope you can taste this very journey it has been on, and enjoy it too.