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South Dublin

After 49 years on the round, Ireland's oldest ice-cream man stars in short documentary

‘Years ago children would know when you were coming and they’d be sitting out on the street waiting for you but it’s not like that now.’

MANY THINGS HAVE changed over the decades but the demand for 99’s, screwballs and cones remains.

No one knows this better than Ireland’s oldest ice-cream man, John Taylor. He has been doing the round in his van for the past 49 years after moving to Dublin from Wales, where he worked in the mines.


Taylor, now aged 75, still takes out his old blue and white Austin van most days.

A five minute documentary, Mr Ripple, takes a look at Taylor on his route. In it, he describes how the work passes time and talks about how things have changed over the years.

One time you’d have loads of children waiting for you. They’d know when you were coming and they’d be sitting out on the street waiting for you but it’s not like that now. They have all the ice-cream they want in supermarkets.

Ice cream gif

Mr Ripple may still be playing the same old tune around his South Dublin route but he quickly learned some tricks to keep manners on any unruly customers.

Years ago there’d be lots of kids jumping on the back of the van… so I’d put some grease on it so they’d slip off and wouldn’t be able to climb up.

“They’d just pester you, they’d run after the van and jump on it. Get a ‘scut’ as they’d call it.

“When I put the grease on, that put a stop to it, because if they jumped up then they’d get their clothes blackened and their mothers would give out to them.”

Taller Stories / YouTube

Taylor says he takes it easy these days, “I don’t want to kill myself at my age now.

“It passes the time and keeps you occupied. You’re better working then doing nothing, I think.


Everyone asks me how I’m so young looking and that I haven’t changed a bit in years. I just say that I always looked this old or it’s all the ice-cream I’m eating that keeps me looking young.

Taylor believes that you’re never too old to enjoy an ice-cream.

Read: Here’s why ice cream wafers were the ultimate Irish childhood treat>

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