Hydrangeas and Melancholy Babies

Hydrangeas spell melancholy to me as their bittersweet beauty signals the end of Summer.


The mere mention of ‘melancholy’ always brings me to Melancholy Babies shared with my ice-cream loving father when I was a kid.

In case you don’t know what Melancholy Babies were ~ think of  tall glasses, long spoons,  layers of different coloured ice cream, tinned fruit salad,  red jelly, chocolate sauce and sprinklings of hundreds and thousands on top of the blob of cream that rose from the glass like the last peak of a very high mountain.

Melancholy Babies certainly weren’t served in every town and village in Ireland and I associate them with being on trips to Dublin with Dad, when he’d make a point of heading to the best Melancholy Baby places he knew and they all seemed to be in O’Connell Street.

The fading days of August were often a time when we’d be in Dublin for a last trip before going back to school so maybe that’s why there’s such a connection in my mind between hydrangeas and Melancholy Babies.

Vivid Memories





Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

20 thoughts on “Hydrangeas and Melancholy Babies”

  1. Melancholy babies – wow, they sound sooooo good. Yum, Yum. The pictures are gorgeous Jean – the hydrangia colors just popping off the screen.

  2. I adore that photograph of the hydrangeas along the rock wall! I have never heard of a treat called Melancholy Babies, so at first, I thought you were talking about the song. Do you still eat them?

    1. Hi Suz, glad you like the photo.
      No, I haven’t had a Melancholy Baby for years. They aren’t around like they used to be and somehow we never made them at home. It was the whole experience that made them so magical to me and Dublin seemed very BIG as I was small when Dad would bring us on these particular treats. (I can’t stop smiling when I think of how he’d be as childlike as I was with ice-cream all over his face!)

  3. I love hydrangeas and the photos of them are lovely…but I’m still trying to get my heard around the desert…chocolate sauce, red jelly, ice cream, cream, hundreds and thousands and fruit salad…I think I will have to get busy on the weekend:)

  4. I don’t know what’s better: learning a new name for a treat, or seeing the vibrant pink hydrangeas. I love the bright blue ones but had never seen such a bright pink. Thanks for all the new wonders from Ireland!

  5. I love love love hydrangeas. In my area, they begin blooming by the middle of summer, and at the NJ shore (vacation location), they proliferate like rabbits. When we moved here in Boston almost two years ago we planted four bushes immediately. This summer is the first one in which they’re blooming…just a little. Next summer should be terrific.
    As far as Melancholy Babies – never heard of them, but they sound DELICIOUS.

  6. What a lovely name for a late summer treat. And they sound delicious. I love hydrangeas too. Ours are in bloom now (the biggest one is flowering over the neighbor’s side of the fence as I forgot to trim them back last year, but, oh well, at least they are enjoying them).

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