HB stands for Hazlebrook Farm, and is one of the best known brand names of ice cream in Ireland. In 1924
, William Hughes and his brother set up Ireland
’s first dairy factory
at their family’s dairy farm, Hazlebrook Farm, in Rathfarnham
, south county Dublin
. Two years later the brothers decided to use the surplus milk
produced on the farm during Spring
in the manufacturing of ice-cream
, so introducing Ireland to what has become one of the best known brand name
s in the country, Hazlebrook Farm ice cream, which remains a firm family favourite all over the country.
In 1964, the Hughes brothers sold HB ice-cream to W.R. Grace, who in turn sold it on to Unilever Bestfoods in 1973. Unilever closed the HB plant in Rathfarnham in August 2003, and awarded the contract to produce HB original ice-cream products to Lakeland Dairies in Killeshandra, Co. Cavan. While the original HB favourite, "tubs and blocks of ice-cream, which have been a particularly-loved Irish phenomenon since the days of the Hughes Brothers"1. are now produced for Ireland in Cavan, many of the well-known Unilever consumer brands are international products, marketed under a similar logo, but different brand names around the world, eg. Walls in the UK, Streets in Australia, such as Cornetto, Magnum, Vienetta, Brunch, and are imported to the republic of Ireland since the closure of the Rathfarnham plant.
The house which was at the centre of the dairy farm where the Hughes family produced the first HB ice cream was knocked down in the mid 1990s due to expansion plans at the Dublin plant. The original farmhouse has, however, been authentically recreated at Bunratty Folk Park in County Clare. Shannon Heritage, the tourism subsidiary of Shannon Development, was given an opportunity to rescue as much as possible of the original building and preserve this part of Irish history for posterity. The entire project cost £160,000, and £40,000 of this was sponsored by Unilever Bestfoods. Much of the original fixtures and fittings and some of the stone façade of the original building were saved and will now be preserved for posterity in the Folk Park, where visitors can step back in time to experience rural life in Ireland over 150 years ago. Hazelbrook farmhouse, captures 75 years of Ireland’s industrial, commercial and social history through the experiences of the Hughes family,.
Mr. NiallFitzGerald, Chairman and CEO of Unilever plc said: “The Hughes family provided Ireland with a brand that met the everyday needs of the people of Ireland. HB became quite simply a part of Irish life”.2.
1. Irish Farmers Journal, 23.8.03
2. The Clare Champion, 01.6.01