International Chill

Celtic Creamery scoops up homemade recipes from across the pond 

Kim Hogan, with her kids Maddie and Austin, said Hendersonville has “embraced” the freshness of Celtic Creamery.
Photo by Jack Robert

Kim Hogan of Hendersonville is an expert in taxes and ice cream. Though her interests may seem disjointed, there’s a common thread: Both are reported to make people scream. 

“I love what I do,” says Hogan, who owns Zip-Zap Income Tax on Duncan Hill Road and Celtic Creamery on 7th Avenue East. “But,” she admits, “people are a lot happier about ice cream.” 

So, how did this tax preparer make the leap from 1099s to sprinkles? She credits her brother Jeff.

About eight years ago, Jeff was vacationing in Ireland when his sweet tooth led him to Sundaes, a quaint ice cream parlor in Ballybunion, Co. Kerry. Instantly impressed by the ice cream’s richness, he struck up a conversation with the owner, Joanna McCarthy. He stressed how well the dessert would be received back home in North Carolina. But McCarthy wouldn’t budge. 

“It took Jeff four years to convince her to let us bring the ice cream to the States,” Hogan says. When McCarthy finally agreed in 2018, Jeff opened Celtic Creamery (the name was selected to underscore the ice cream’s Gaelic authenticity) in Carolina Beach. The franchise later expanded to Smithfield and then, last July, to Hendersonville.  

Photo by Jack Robert

Today, the Hendersonville shop features a rotating selection of 50 Irish ice creams. Though every flavor is made, churned, and frozen on site, McCarthy is still responsible for recipe development. But sometimes, as Hogan explains, recipes that make a splash across the pond don’t resonate with American customers. 

“For example,” Hogan says, “the biggest seller in Ireland is Rum Raisin. That wouldn’t go over well here.”

Instead, Hogan offers Irish Butter Pecan. “We candy the pecans in house and incorporate authentic Irish butter,” she notes. “It’s our best seller.”

Another popular flavor is From the Sea and Bee, an extra-decadent blend of sea salt, caramel, and honey. Then there’s Hogan’s favorite — Mint To Be. “It’s mint-flavored ice cream with pieces of Andes [chocolate-mint candies],” she says. “It’s awesome.”

Celtic Creamery also offers signature sundaes, freshly made donuts, oven-baked cookies, and something nefariously named The Tummy Trembler. With six scoops of ice cream, eight hot donuts, fresh cream, cookie pieces, Oreos, marshmallows, chocolate shavings, hot chocolate sauce, and a banana, this sugar-laden smorgasbord is reserved for the brave. 

Celtic Creamery uses Irish traditional recipes — and then scoops on signature touches, like the “Tummy Trembler” sundae that includes a batch of house-made donuts.
Photo by Jack Robert

“Families come in and split it,” Hogan says. “But we did have one man who finished it alone. When he left, his face was green.”

Though six scoops may be too much of a good thing, Hendersonville can’t seem to get enough of Celtic Creamery. Even though the shop opened mid pandemic, business has been holding strong. 

“The city just embraced us,” says Hogan, who’s been running the storefront since day one. Of course, she has to hand over the reins to her husband and son during tax season. “Our ice cream is just so fresh. That’s what sets us apart.”  

Celtic Creamery, 227 7th Ave. East, Hendersonville, open 12-10pm daily. For more information, call 828-595-9250 or visit celticcreamery.com.   

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