We are delighted to present the 2021 Irish Cheese Awards.

The Irish Cheese Awards, is now in its ninth year since inception and is the only competition dedicated entirely to Irish cheese. 

The awards is a biennial event and entries are open to all cheese producers from across the island of Ireland. They are a chance to celebrate Irish Cheesemakers and promote the sector as a whole.

Key Dates:

ENTRIES FOR 2021 ARE NOW CLOSED. The full details of entry are available to view here

• Physical cheese entries are to be delivered on Thursday 4th or Friday 5th November. 

• Irish Cheese Awards judging will take place on Tuesday 9th November

• The Awards ceremony will be held in the beautiful surroundings of Killruddery House on the evening of Tuesday 9th November.

Kindly Sponsored by


With Thanks also to Our Category Sponsors

Artisan Foods, Gleneely Foods, Irish Cheese Direct, Artisan Cheese Awards UK

The Awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday 9th November in the beautiful surroundings of Killruddery House in Bray, Co. Wicklow.

The evening begin with a drinks reception in the Grain Store of the Killruddery House Courtyard at 6:30pm, with presentation of awards from 7pm. Guests will go on to enjoy a meal prepared with the best of Irish produce, much of it grown or reared on Killruddery Farm. Our MC for the evening is Chef, food writer and co-founder of Ballymaloe Cookery School, Rory O’Connell. We are delighted to have Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue as Keynote speaker at the awards.


ENTRIES FOR 2021 ARE NOW CLOSED. The full details of entry are available to view here


Judges have been selected and invited as representatives of various sectors within the food industry to ensure a balance of experienced cheese judges, food professionals and trade members. The competition takes place on Tuesday 9th November in the Orangerie at Killruddery House.

2021 Judges

For 2021 we are delighted to announce our judging panel as follows and are hugely grateful to the judges!

Edward Horgan, Horgan’s Delicatessen Supplies
Grainne Whalley, Traditional Cheese Co.
Finbar Deery, Sheridans Cheesemongers
Donal Flynn, Fallon & Byrne
Rory O’Connell, Ballymaloe Cookery School
Gillian Nelis, Sunday Business Post
Avril Molloy, Irish School of Cheese
Matthew O’Callaghan, Artisan Cheese Awards UK
Ed O’Neil, O’Neill Food Solutions
Tim Rowcliffe, Rowcliffes
Mark Caviston, Cavistons
Laura Bradley, Indie Fude
Chris Dawson, Marks & Spencers
Miah Buckley, Musgrave
Owen Bailey, Neal’s Yard Dairy

Criteria for Marking:

  • flavour and aroma – 60 points
  • body and texture – 30 points
  • overall appearance – 10 points

Criteria for Retailers Categories:

  • flavour and aroma – 40 points
  • body and texture – 20 points
  • overall appearance of Cheese – 10 points
  • Packaging & Branding – 30 Points


Judges will be assigned no more than 3 categories each for judging and will work in groups of 3. They will be informed of assigned categories and pairings during the virtual briefing session in advance.

Judging groups will be chosen by the organisers to always include at least one cheese professional with a significant experience of professional cheese judging.

Judges will receive scoring sheets for each category and guide sheets which provide details on marking criteria.

Judges will score cheeses as they taste based on the criteria provided and the scores will be calculated only when the entire category is judged.

 Judges will be briefed in advance that scores and the notes will be made available to entrants on request, therefore it is important to write a brief note on each cheese and to try and be as constructive as possible with comments.

The judges will choose a maximum of 5 shortlisted entrants for their categories.

If any difficulties arise in narrowing down the selection, the Judges will then as an entire group revisit the shortlisted cheeses from each category and select the medal winners.


An uneven number of judges has been chosen in order to avoid any tie situations.

If any unforeseen circumstance occurs on the day of judging where is not an uneven number, then via a random selection process (name from hat) – one judge’s vote will be excluded from final judging of each category.

Not all categories are guaranteed of a medal in order to ensure the ongoing validity of awarded medals.

For the category to be judged a minimum of 5 cheeses must have been entered otherwise the organisers reserve the right to combine categories if possible.

If the situation arises Where any judge is associated with a brand – e.g. in the example of retailer classes, they will be excluded from judging and voting for that category.

The judges and any organisers present undertake to keep all results confidential until their announcement at the awards ceremony