We were delighted to present the 2021 Irish Cheese Awards on 9th November in Killruddery in Bray, joined by a host of cheesemakers, judges, cheesemongers, trade representatives, restaurateurs, buyers and cheese lovers…

The Irish Cheese Awards, in its ninth year since inception is the only competition dedicated entirely to Irish cheese. The awards is now 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, continue to increase quality across the sector with feedback from esteemed judges and promote Irish Farmhouse cheese to a wide audience. SEE THE WINNERS HERE


The 2021 Winners List is now available to view following the judging and Gala Awards on 9th November

Key Dates:

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

• Physical cheese entrries delivered on Thursday 4th or Friday 5th November. 

• Irish Cheese Awards judging: Tuesday 9th November

• The awards ceremony: held in the beautiful surroundings of the Grain Store Restaurant in the former Victorian courtyards of Killruddery on the evening of Tuesday 9th November.

The awards ceremony took place on Tuesday 9th November in the beautiful surroundings of the Grain Store Restaurant at Killruddery, Bray, Co. Wicklow.

The Awards were held in the Grain Store Restaurant, in the former Victorian courtyards of Killruddery from 6:30pm, with presentation of awards from 7pm. Guests went 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 was chef, food writer and co-founder of Ballymaloe Cookery School, Rory O’Connell. We were delighted to have Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue as Keynote speaker at the awards.

Irish Cheese Awards 2021 in Grain Store Restaurant at Killruddery


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


Judges were 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 took place on Tuesday 9th November in the Orangerie at Killruddery.

2021 Judges

We are hugely grateful to the judges as follows for all their work!

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 Baily, 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 the during the virtual briefing session in advance, and of pairings and assigned categories at the event on the day.

Judging groups are 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. Scoring points are a guide only to aid with the selection of tope three or shortlist.

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