CÁIS – The Association of Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers has members from across the 32 counties of the Island of Ireland. Established in 1983 as a community of Irish cheesemakers to collaborate on a variety of issues important to the farmhouse cheesemaking sector; the association is proud to work to highlight the achievements of Ireland’s cheesemakers, liaise with similar trade organisations as well as government bodies, continue to increase quality in our sector, disseminate information and collaborate on issues of importance, whilst working to promote Irish cheese to the wider public.
Become A CÁIS Member
If you would like to join CÁIS and be a part of the community of Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers, please complete and submit a membership form. Membership costs from €50 to €150 depending on production levels.
Ardsallagh Goat Products
Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork
Ardsallagh Goat Products is a family run business based in Carrigtwohill Co Cork. They produce a range of high quality, handmade, natural dairy products which include bottled goats milk, goat’s cheese, and goat’s yogurt. Ardsallagh began over 30 years ago by Jane Murphy and has since grown from supplying the local market to supplying multiple retail in Ireland. All products are produced using milk from their herd of 500 goats. Gerard Murphy manages the herd and is responsible for milking twice daily, farm development and wellbeing while Jane manages production.
Ardsallagh Goat Products work tirelessly to ensure Ardsallagh goats are happy and healthy. They believe in the production of artisan, natural, fresh produce. We don’t use any artificial additives or preservatives and we use slow traditional handmade production methods to produce premium quality cheese. Ardsallagh cheese can also be found on the menu of many fantastic restaurants across Ireland. Chefs love the versatility and authenticity of their cheese.
Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow
As young, Irish foodie farmers, Hanna and George are passionate about promoting real, Irish food to the rest of the nation while also producing a sustainable business from our relatively small family-farm.
When George went to college, it was clear that he had great knowledge and passion for all things related to sheep. This was made evident by his ‘Sheep Student of the Year’ accomplishment in college and his recent nomination for ‘Sheep Farmer of the Year’ in Ireland. Since his college days, George has dreamed about starting a Sheep Dairy business on his third generation family farm (which has seen everything from poultry to pigs, dairy cattle to sucklers and of course-sheep). They finally took the leap in 2017 before their first production year which began in the summer of 2018.
Charleville, County Cork
Based in Newtownshandrum, Charleville, Co. Cork, Bluebell Falls is a family business, run by Victor and Breda O’ Sullivan. Their free-range goats have some of the best grazing land in Ireland so they produce the highest quality Goats Milk. Perfect for making their unique handmade, farmhouse goat’s cheese – which is made under strict hygiene and traceability conditions as laid down by BRC, while still retaining our core values through small batches.
It’s versatile! Use it as an ingredient in starters, mains, salads and desserts or as a topping on pizza, crackers, and bread.
It’s healthy! With half the fat and twice the protein of cow’s milk, goat’s milk makes a healthier cheese more suited to a healthier lifestyle. It is vegetarian and gluten free and suitable for many people with dairy allergies, it can be an excellent cheese alternative.
It’s tasty! Goat’s soft cheese has a richer taste to better suit the more experienced pallets of today.
Bó Rua Farm
Fermoy, Co. Cork
There is an old farmers saying, “Look after the cows and the cows will look after you.” This goes to the heart of everything Tom & Norma Dinneen do at Bó Rua Farm from from how they raise and graze their cows, to how they handcraft their farmhouse cheese.
The inspiration for the name of the Dinneen’s farm and their cheese came from their gentle Montbéliarde cows, a breed that originate in France where they are synonymous with traditional cheesemaking. They have beautiful rust coloured markings, hence the name Bó Rua, the Irish for Red Cow.
Cheesemaking is seasonal, while the cows are outdoors, enjoying a grass diet. Bó Rua Farm cheddar is carefully produced and gently aged to develop a firm yet delicately creamy texture and a full, approachable flavour. The Dinneen’s have made it their mission to oversee every step of their pasture-to-plate produce to ensure they bring you the finest of cheese.
Winner of 2 Stars at the 2020 Great Taste Awards and a Gold Medal Winner at the 2019 Blas na hEireann, Irish Food Awards.
Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheese
Slane, Co. Meath
Michael and Jenny Finegan established Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheese in 2010 on the family farm in Co. Meath. They milk 250 goats which provide the milk for their cheese.
The first product made was Boyne Valley Blue, a semi-hard blue goat’s cheese. This was the only blue goat’s cheese being made in Ireland. Boyne Valley Blue has many awards in Ireland and the UK. In The British Cheese Awards, International Cheese Awards, and the Artisan Cheese Awards in Melton Mowbray.
In 2016, a 200-year-old stone building on the farm was converted into a cheesemaking facility. A new cheese was developed. Boyne Valley Bán is a white goat’s cheese similar in style to the French Tomme cheese. In 2018 Boyne Valley Bán won gold and ‘Best Irish Cheese’ in the British Cheese Awards, received 3 stars, and was nominated for a ‘Golden Fork’ award in the Great Taste Awards.
Burren Gold Cheese
Aillwee Cave, Ballyvaughan Co. Clare
The ‘Burren Gold Cheese at Aillwee’ story continues to be told for over 35 years. From April to October, their talented cheesemaker, makes 85 kilos of beautiful semi soft farmhouse Gouda style cheese every day. The milk that produces their award-winning cheese has, since 1985, come from the Friesian herd at Davoren’s of Caherconnell. Their cows graze on the wild Burren grasses and herbs, just a stone’s throw from Aillwee Mountain. They produce six flavours of Burren Gold – Plain, Smoked, Black Pepper, Cumin, Piri Piri and Garlic & Nettle.
Newcastle West, Co. Limerick
The Cahill family have been farming the lush green pasturelands of Newcastle West, Limerick since 1902. They are one of the oldest artisanal cheese making families in Ireland using time-honoured methods and recipes passed down through the years to create outstanding speciality cheddar, matured to perfection. Unlike many specialty flavoured cheddars which are extruded, Cahill’s is pressed cheddar, thus retaining the wonderful cheddar texture which is lost in large scale production.
Today, they employ a small, skilled team of 20 people overseen by the fourth generation of the Cahill family, marrying traditional skills and old recipes with modern technology. We only use 100% natural, locally sourced ingredients with our cheddar being made using pasteurised milk from grass fed cows. Cahill’s have a strong ethos of sustainability and are fully traceable and verified members of Bord Bia’s Origin Green initiative.
Cais Na Tire
Terryglass, Co. Tipperary
Lorraine and Barry are a young couple from Co. Tipperary who met in secondary school. They are both from a farming background and have always been interested in agriculture. They bought their first lambs in 2012 after graduating from college. With Barry’s love of sheep and their experience in dairy, they visited Stott’s sheep dairy farm in England in 2012. Shortly after, they purchased 70 Friesland lambs and in March 2013, the first lambs were born.
They now milk 200 Friesland ewes and manufacture their own cheese onsite. They produce two types-a tomme style and a Gouda-style, plain and with herbs- Fenugreek and Chives and garlic. The cheese is aged for 6-12 months. They are very passionate about their sheep and their cheese and have won many awards
Carlow Farmhouse Cheese
Fenagh, County Carlow
Elizabeth Bradley started cheese making started on her farm at Fenagh in County Carlow in 2005. She uses a neighbour’s milk to make a Gouda-type cheese from raw milk and sells in the local weekly Carlow Farmers Market. This developed further into an on-farm enterprise, milking dairy sheep (Lacaune) to make hard cheddar-type sheep cheese and sheep milk yoghurt. The cow’s milk cheese continues to be made, with the addition of a raw milk cheddar, the milk collected from Dunlavin Dairy, an organic farm run by Arthur Craigie in Co. Wicklow.
Carrigaline Farmhouse Cheese
Carrigaline, County Cork
For two generations the O’Farrell family have been perfecting their skills as artisan cheese producers on their family farm in Carrigaline, Co. Cork. Since 1987 the Carrigaline Cheese brand has grown very deliberately making its way onto cheeseboards and store shelves all over Ireland and internationally. Their cheeses are handmade with milk from Freisian cows, grazed on rich limestone soil, and pasteurised on site.
Carrigaline is a family run business that cares about their customers and wants to deliver a perfectly creamy, high quality, artisan cheese. Carrigaline cheese has no artificial preservatives or additives, and the cheese is made with vegetarian rennet, making it suitable for strict vegetarians. The cheese is semi-soft, with a delicate flavour, becoming piquant with age. It is also available in a range of flavours.
Their mission is to provide a natural cheese, handmade and matured with patience, while caring for the people who make it and Mother Nature who sustains it.
Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers
Beechmount, Co. Tipperary
Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers is a family-owned business focused primarily on the making of blue cheese. Its cow’s milk cheese is branded Cashel Blue in which there is an organic offering, while its sheep’s milk cheese is called Crozier Blue.
Established in 1984 by Louis and Jane Grubb, the company is now managed by a second generation and is a registered international brand. Cheese quality, flavour excellence, and production sustainability are its primary company objectives. All of their cheese is made, matured, graded and selected at Beechmount Farm, close to the historic town of Cashel.
The Cashel Blue recipe is unique to one Irish family made for over 35 years on a family farm in rural Ireland. They offer a rare combination of authenticity, professionalism, and production capability.
Castlerea, Co. Roscommon
Cloonconra Cheese produce a traditional, raw farmhouse cheese on their organic farm in West Roscommon using pedigree native Irish breeds of cows. The cheese is made every day while their lovely herd of Irish Moiled cows graze their organic biodiverse ancient pastures. Core to the vision and ethos of Cloonconra Cheese is heritage, sustainability and the slow food movement. As a member of The Irish Slow Food Presidium, Cloonconra Cheese believe that good, clean and fair food can provide a future for the family and the farm. The farm is traditional and sustainable by using both a breed suited to marginal land and organic standards. Their packaging is fully compostable to reduce environmental damage. They are passionate about what they do because these values are so important to them. They are members of the Raw Milk Presidium.
Tullow, County Carlow
In production since 2003, Coolattin Cheddar are based near Tullow Co Carlow. Coolattin is a raw milk cheddar produced by Tom Burgess using only summer milk from his own herd. Tom has been producing top quality milk from his pasture fed cows in West Wicklow for twenty years. He wanted to develop a product which reflected this quality and decided it would be Mature Raw Milk Cheddar ‘Pasture to Cheddar the same day’.
‘The milk which used to make Coolattin Cheddar is special for a number of reasons. They process in the summer months, when the cows are grazing fresh clover-rich pasture only, the ideal diet for cheese processing milk. They use early morning milk, high in melatonin which aids relaxation & sleep. It is pumped directly to the cheese-vat, not stored or pasteurised, thus the natural goodness & flavour is preserved by our traditional cheese-making process. They add beneficial Lacto-bacilli & rennet to their milk, the curd is cut, scalded, drained & pitched. Then cheddared, milled, salted & mixed by hand. Following this, they put it in 40lb moulds and press for 2 days. It is then matured for over a year at 10C. During this time the unique combination of enzymes & proteins interact to create a gourmet experience of aroma, texture & full flavour which develops slowly from sweet fruit to a full nutty note.
Coolea Farmhouse Cheese
Macroom, County Cork
Coolea Cheese is handmade on the mountain farm of the Willems family in Coolea, Co. Cork. It is a family run business established in 1981. Dicky buys in milk from one herd of Holsteins and Friesians. Dicky only uses milk from grass-fed cattle as milk from silage can taint the cheese as it ages. Similarly only traditional rennet is used as it makes far more age-worthy cheeses. The quality of Coolea is testament to Dicky’s attention to detail, and the quality of milk produced in Ireland. Young Coolea is mild, semi-firm and buttery, a very pleasant everyday cheese. By contrast Mature Coolea is intensely full flavoured, deep and meaty, notes of toffee and caramel abound and the cheese has a long finish. The cheese is made using a standard Gouda recipe, yet the result is better than most Dutch Gouda. The secret is simple. Dicky ensures that the high quality of the milk is not lost in production. The Willems family pride themselves on producing a very high quality cheese.
Thurles, Co. Tipperary
The Maher family are the fourth generation of Maher’s to work the land at Cooleeney, outside Thurles in Co. Tipperary. All the milk in production comes from the family’s own pedigree Friesians, with goat’s milk supplied locally from two Tipperary farmers. Faced with an excess of milk due to cutbacks in guaranteed milk prices, Breda and Jim were forced to find a means of adding value to their milk production. Breda’s background in hotel management meant she had always been interested in food and she was excited by the idea of cheese making. In 1984, Breda decided to take a cheese making course in University College Cork and in 1986 Cooleeney was born. Breda chose to produce a soft, camembert-style cheese because the market was full of hard cheeses at the time. Cooleeney now produces up to 12 different varieties of cheeses both cows and goats, soft and semi hard.
Belturbet, County Cavan
German-born Silke Cropp came to live in Belturbet, Co. Cavan in 1981. Surprised and frustrated by the lack of availability of quality cheese locally, she was determined to make her own. Through a process of trial and error she gradually developed a number of cheeses.
However since 2011, you might meet Silke’s son Tom at the markets who is now involved in the making and mongering of Corleggy Cheeses. Corleggy cheeses are made using raw milk. Each milk type cheeses are made using milk from one local herd. All of Silke’s cheeses are made at Corleggy Farmhouse on the banks of the river Erne, from where she also runs cheese making courses.
Corleggy is a hard goat’s cheese made using unpasteurised milk and vegetarian rennet. The brine-washed natural rind contains a smooth ivory-white paste, which takes on a slightly deeper shade as the cheese ages. Young Corleggy Hard Goats cheese is mild, yet richly aromatic, while older cheeses become harder, stronger in flavour with more earthy notes and a discernable piquant finish.
Cratloe Hills Cheese
Cratloe, Co Clare
Sean and Deirdre Fitzgerald followed their dream to produce a hand-made sheep’s cheese on their family farm in Cratloe, Co. Clare. With that dream and a desire to work with nature, they painstakingly pored over every aspect of the farmhouse cheese, manufacturing process. Travelling to the Netherlands, England and Frances, they learned from the experts and cheese producers.
Bringing this knowledge and skill back home, they went on to produce Ireland’s first sheep’s cheese back in 1988. Over 30 years later, nestled between the Cratloe Hills and the River Shannon in the West of Ireland on their family farm, they continue to adapt and change to produce the special taste and flavour of Cratloe Hills Sheep’s Cheese.
Now sourcing sheep’s milk from local farmers. Cratloe Sheep’s Cheese stands for small, handmade productions and a desire to work with nature. It is highly nutritious, easily digested and suitable for people with cow dairy intolerances. It is rich in bone-building calcium, protein and other minerals.
Derg Farmhouse Cheese
Nenagh, County Tipperary
Derg Farmhouse Cheese, owned by Paddy and Kay Cooney, is located in the townland of Garranmore facing Lough Derg, a few mile outside Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. They produce cheese on their own farm with fresh, raw milk from their own herd of Frisian/Jersey cows.
The Cooney family have been farming in the area for generations. The idea of making their own cheese had been at the back of Paddy’s mind from the time he was at Gurteen Agricultural College where it was presented as an alternative farm enterprise.
They are in production since 2014, producing cheddar cheese using traditional methods. It is left to mature from 9-12 months before sale. The farm is located on the Shores of Lough Derg. It is only made in summer months from milk that has been produced off grass.
Ballaghaderreen, County Mayo
Danilo & Helen Dozio began making Swiss style cows’ milk cheeses in 2016. The milk comes from Richardson’s farm, just minutes away from the dairy. All cheeses are based on traditional recipes from the south of Switzerland, where Danilo grew up and the range made is similar to that produced in a southern Swiss dairy. Their Alpine style hard cheese matured for a minimum of 3 months won Best New Cheese & Gold at the Irish Cheese Awards 2019 and Apricot & Almond Zing won 1st & Gold in the category “Soft Cheese Flavour Added”.
Bantry, County Cork
Jeffa Gill is one of the earliest established cheesemakers in Ireland. She and her team have been making Durrus Cheese at her hillside farmhouse in West Cork since 1979. Today, the multi-award-winning Durrus Cheese continues to be made by hand using traditional techniques, with Jeffa now joined by her daughter Sarah in this family business. The milk is sourced from two neighbouring farms, where cows graze lush meadows overlooking the sea, a rich mixed pasture which is a cheesemakers dream.
Durrus Cheese has a semi-soft paste and a natural washed rind with a delicately pungent flavour made using cow’s milk. It has a mottled pink-orange rind and a tendency to bulge slightly when cut.
Galway Goat Farm
Dunmore, County Galway
Located just outside the town of Dunmore in North County Galway, Galway Goat Farm have been producing their range of multi award-winning goat Cheeses and Yoghurt since 2013.
Their Cheese and Yoghurt making starts early each Monday morning, using the fresh milk collected earlier from Claudia, their goat milk supplier based in county Westmeath. It takes a few days to make their Fresh Cheese, so by Thursday their Fresh cheese and creamy Yoghurt is ready for packaging and onward delivery to their customers, their different aged cheeses take a little longer
Mansfieldtown, County Louth
Peter and Anita Thomas started producing Bellingham Blue on Anita’s family farm at Mansfieldstown, near Castlebellingham in County Louth in 2000. Peter set up the Glyde Farm business in 1996 and spent several years researching the Irish market for dairy products, before settling on making a raw milk blue cheese. The cheese was a success from the off, winning ‘Best New Dairy Product’ at the International Nantwich Show in England a couple of months after its launch onto the market.
Bellingham is a strong and rustic raw Irish blue and all milk comes from the family herd of grass-fed Friesians. Everything about Bellingham Blue is hands-on. Raw milk and vegetarian rennet is used in production. The cheese is made by hand, turned by hand, rubbed by hand to form the rind, and hand-pierced with an expert touch to get just the right amount of rich blue veining. The mottled brown rind encloses a semi-hard yellow white paste containing cavernous, mould-lined holes from which the cheese derives its strength.
Gubbeen Farmhouse Products
Schull, County Cork
Giana and Tom Ferguson have been making Gubbeen in West Cork since the late seventies. As a child in Spain, Giana’s family had made cheese from goat’s milk on her father’s small farm in the mountains above Alora. Later, living in France Giana was brought into contact with the great French cheeses. Marrying into a farming family in Ireland where some of the best milk in Europe is produced, Giana and her husband Tom experimented and produced their own cottage cheeses and fresh cheeses. They soon met other cheesemakers working both in West Cork and nationally; this developed into CAIS, the Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers Association. Tom and Giana Ferguson currently make the cheese.
The Gubbeen herd is out earlier than most Irish farms as they are influenced by the Gulf Stream bringing in warm winds and early grass. In the Summer, their herd grazes the pasture and are out all night, coming home at 6am to be milked. Their cheese is also GM free.
Whitechurch, County Cork
Hegarty cheese was created in 2001 by Dan Hegarty but the farm has been run for generations by the Hegarty family. They are located in Whitechurch, a village on the edge of Cork city. The farm is about 150 acres in size. They only use the milk produced by their herd of Irish Friesian cows for their cheese production, making their cheese fully traceable from the field to the finished product.
Dan’s ambition was to create a farmhouse cheese that truly represents the quality of cork grass fed milk. 20 years later, they expanded their range of product but are still making everything by hand. Their cheddar is made the traditional way, using cloth to cover the cheese during its long ripening process. They also produce a new gruyere style cheese called Templegall which is made from raw milk.
Cappamore, County Kerry
|A hard cheese handmade at Kells Bay on the beautiful Ring of Kerry, using the milk of the rare breed Kerry Cow. A dillisk seaweed variety is also available.|
Killeen Farmhouse Cheese
Arklow, Portumna, Co. Galway
Dutch-born Marion Roeleveld has been making Killeen goat’s cheese in the parish of Killeen outside Portumna since 2004. Before coming to Ireland Marion trained in cheesemaking in her native Netherlands. In-depth formal training of this sort is rare amongst Irish farmhouse cheesemakers and Marion’s technical expertise enabled her to develop cheeses for a number of different producers in Ireland since.
Killeen make cheese on their farm with the milk of their own 200 goats in East-Galway. A local farmer supplies them with cow’s milk for cheese making too. Killeen was crowned Supreme Champion in the Irish Cheese Awards three times, in 2011, 2014 and 2019.
Killeen goat is a Gouda cheese. The natural orange-beige rind is covered in a thin layer of breathable plastic, whilst the paste is brilliant white. At three months the flavour is fresh, clean and milky, with a very slight lactic note in the finish. The cheese develops more fruitiness as it ages up to five months, and then gradually turns nutty.
Knockalara Farmhouse Cheese
Cappoquin, County Waterford
Agnes and Wolfgng Schliebitz have been making cheese on their farm in West Waterford since 1990. They imported a number of Friesland ewes from the continent and build up a flock of dairy sheep. Over time the demands of milking, cheese making and attending local farmers markets proved too great. When sheep milk became available the decision was made to buy the milk.
All cheese made at Knockalara Farmhouse Cheese Company is made by hand using traditional cheese-making methods. Only the best quality milk and a vegetarian approved rennet substitute is used to produce the cheese. All cheeses are made from pasteurised milk and are free from artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. No genetically modified ingredients are used.
Knockanore Farmhouse Cheese
Knockanore, County Waterford
The Lonergan Family have been making award-winning cheese on the family farm in Knockanore since 1987 using raw unpasteurised milk from our pedigree herd of cows. The land, coupled with the quality of herd, helps Knockanore to produce the best milk. The cheese is handmade using traditional techniques. The raw milk adopts the flavours of the local pasture on which the cows graze producing a cheddar cheese that is rich in omega 3 and antioxidants with a complex, creamy flavour, earthy tones and a nutty aroma.
Knockanore Farmhouse Cheese is an award-winning, quality Irish cheese. Their smoked cheese is smoked with locally sourced oak wood in their own smokehouse, and all flavours and colours are natural. Their milking parlour and cheese making facility are equipped with the latest technology to ensure first-class standards from start to finish.
Knockatee Natural Dairy
Ardea West, County Kerry
At Knockatee, Sean Coles O’Sullivan produces a range of unpasteurised farmhouse cheese including cheddar, a variety of gouda and his signature cheese, the award winning “Kerry Blue”.
All of the above are made from the highest quality grass fed cows milk which is sourced in the next valley across from the creamery. Sean is extremely proud to boast of his newest cheese, Irelands only blue cheese made from buffalo milk, “Beara Blue”. This creamy, flavourful cheese really is one of a kind.
Kylemore Farmhouse Cheese
Loughrea, County Galway
Kylemore Farmhouse Cheese is a unique, premium Irish farmhouse cheese produced directed on our farm in Co. Galway. Our unique award-winning cheese is inspired by the Swiss Alps. The cheeses are handmade on the foothills of Slieve Aughty Mountains, Co. Galway. They are producing their highest quality raw material – natural milk from our grass-fed Pedigree Dairy herd of cows for over 60 years. It is fully traceable and sustainable from farm to fork, Bord Bia – Origin Green approved. They are proud to be producing a product that has a low carbon footprint. Cheese is only produced in the months of April to October and is matured for a minimum of 5 months, this natural washed rind cheese, has a creamy, nutty buttery flavour.
Theresa Roche, the producer of Kylemore Farmhouse Cheese believes that the future of farming is ‘farm diversification’ adding value to their raw materials or having an alternative enterprise on farms. She is passionate about empowering women in agriculture and creating jobs in rural Ireland to enhance health and well-being in our communities. They also offer educational farm and cheese tours and a traditional afternoon tea in our farmhouse.
Leitrim Hill Creamery
Drumcong, County Leitrim
Leitrim Hill Creamery is a small holding goat farm and creamery in Drumcong, County Leitrim. They make batch artisanal raw milk cheeses utilising milk from their own herd of goats as well as milk from partner farmers in the region. They pride themselves on their commitment to sustainable practices and the passion for quality that they pour into their craft. Their cheese is the result of the ethos of responsible land stewardship that they and their partner farmers engage in their organic grass growing techniques. Great grass, a personally developed microbial culture, raw milk, and thoughtful hands all contribute to the distinct flavour of their Leitrim made cheeses. Their aim is to promote County Leitrim and local Irish cheese producers. Blessed are the cheesemakers!
Macroom Buffalo Cheese
Macroom, County Cork
Macroom Buffalo has Ireland’s first and only herd of milking water Buffalo. The Farm is owned by Buffalo farmer Johnny and his wife Geraldine. They produce a variety of cheeses including Mozzarella, Greek-style salad cheese, and Haloumi.
In October 2009, Johnny purchased 31 Buffaloes from Italy and was the first milking herd of Buffalo in Ireland. He now has a herd of over 200 animals on his 150-acre farm based in Cill na Martra near Macroom in County Cork and the animals are thriving in the Irish environment. They now milk over 75 Buffalo, which are calving all year round to ensure a consistent supply of milk.
Johnny has recently set up his own company Macroom Buffalo Cheese Products Ltd and is now producing cheese in a new state of the art production facility on the farm. He has enlisted the help of cheese maker Sean Ferry of the renowned ‘Desmond’ and ‘Gabriel’ cheese. Sean has almost 30 years’ experience in making hard cheese and with the assistance of Italian cheese makers, he has now diversified into making soft cheeses such as Mozzarella.
Macroom buffalo Mozzarella is made from fresh Buffalo milk produced on the farm which is turned into cheese and dispatched that same day. Macroom Buffalo Mozzarella has already made a name for itself in gourmet and food circles all over the country. They are available in most of the major supermarkets across Ireland and also service the foodservice sector which means the cheese is on all high-quality Irish restaurant menus.
Mike’s Fancy Cheese
Newtownards, County Down
Mikes Fancy Cheese is proud to be creating a new tradition of raw milk cheese making in Northern Ireland. Northern Irelands first raw milk cheesemaker, Mike Thomson and his small team produce a raw milk blue cheese called Young Buck.
Mike’s Fancy Cheese cheesemongers is based at 41 Little Donegall Street, Belfast.
Eyeries, County Cork
Milleens Cheese was started by Veronica Steele in 1976. Thirty three years later, this has become known as the cheese where the story of modern Irish farmhouse cheesemaking began. Milleens is an artisan food, a washed rind cheese with a soft paste. It has a mottled peach and sometimes fiery orange washed rind and within is a paste that goes from semi-firm to spilling cream. The flavour is a complex mix of delicate herbs along with a spicy tang. “A washed rind whole milk cheese from the mountainous Beara Peninsula of West Cork . . . rich, floral taste . . . sweet taste . . . and firm to a creamy texture . . . real depth and body . . . wonderful pink orangey rind.”- Juliet Harbutt, the Specialist Cheesemakers’ Association Guide to the Cheeses of Britain and Ireland. It is available in 1.5kg and 220g rounds, the smaller known as ‘dotes’.
Old MacDonnell’s Farm
Glen Of The Downs, Co Wicklow
Brian and Wendy MacDonnell have had goats on their farm in the Glen of the Downs, Co Wicklow since 1977, but only began to commercialise their produce in the mid-1990s. All the milk used in production comes from their own herd of Saanen goats and their Holstein-Friesian cattle.
The Old MacDonnell brand is possibly better known for yoghurts than cheese, but the MacDonnell family produces a range of fresh Mediterranean-style cheeses in a large number of different flavours.
Old MacDonnell’s cow’s cheese is a fresh cheese made using vegetarian rennet. Old MacDonnell’s Farm cheeses have a colourful placement of olives, red pepper and rosemary on top of the tzatsiki; lovely colours that anoint the pretty Mini chevres; a weave of fresh basil leaves and sun-dried tomato laced through soft cheese; and the Mediterranean veg running through the goat’s greek salad.
Old MacDonnell’s Goats cheese is a fresh cheese made using vegetarian rennet. This white fresh cheese is light and creamy with a lively acidity.
Ennistymon, County Clare
St. Tola Irish Goat Cheese is known as a premium food product in Ireland. The company’s gourmet cheese has been handmade in the townland of Inagh, south of the beautiful Burren area in Co. Clare, since the early 1980s. Owner Siobhan Ni Ghairbhith has made significant developments to the business over the years – developing it from a local industry to an internationally recognised brand. However, the cheese is still handmade as the artisanal quality of the product is paramount.
The St. Tola range includes crottins, logs, hard cheese, Greek-style cheese, and soft cream cheese. The cheese range includes cheeses made from both raw and pasteurised goats milk from the family farm.
The Little Milk Company
Dungarvan, County Waterford
The Little Milk Company is a co-operative of organic dairy farmers residing throughout the Irish provinces of Munster and Leinster.
All of its farms are family-owned and operated using organic farming methods. Its herds include a mix of Jersey and Montbeliarde cows, which are renowned for producing the highest-quality milk.
They use their organic milk to make a range of organic cheeses and cheese powder. Their traditional round wheels cheddars are made with raw milk and hand-turned using traditional cheese-making techniques. They also make pasteurized cheese, perfect for slicing, grating, and block, a real family favourite.
The Lost Valley Dairy & Creamery
Macroom, County Cork.
At The Lost Valley Dairy & Creamery Mike and Darcie primarily make two cheeses, Carraignamuc & Rí na Mumhan.
They milk their own cows and make cheese, butter and yoghurt from that milk.
They have focussed on simplicity of process. Although influenced by French / Italian recipes they have not used imported cultures, they have developed a native, completely local Raw Milk culture, ripening and maturing.
Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary
Artisan producer of fruity whey drinks and savoury soft cheese’s.
Hand-made in small batches on the family’s Tipperary farm using all natural ingredients with love and care from their cow’s to you.
Claremorris, County Mayo
Velvet Cloud was set up by husband and wife team Michael and Aisling Flanagan. Their grass-fed range of sheep’s milk dairy products is produced on the family farm using fresh sheep’s milk from their flock of lacaune and friesland ewes. Still a relatively young business, their products appear on the menus of some of the top food outlets in the country, including five star Michelin restaurants. Velvet Cloud is available in over 100 retail outlets across Ireland, as well as Daylsford Organic in London.
Wicklow Farmhouse Cheese
Arklow, County Wicklow
The Hempenstall family have been dairying at Curranstown for over fifty years. Dairy farmer John Hempenstall identified a gap in the market for an Irish blue brie cheese and decided to get into cheese making. He started making Wicklow Blue in 2002, bringing occasional vats of his milk down to other people’s cheese-making facilities in Co Cork. This was very time-consuming work but the cheese proved popular and on 17 February 2005, John opened a purpose-built, cheese making facility on his farm at Curranstown, in Co. Wicklow.
All the milk used in production comes from John’s own herd. Wicklow Blue is a blue brie style cheese made using pasteurised cow’s milk and vegetarian rennet. The bloomy white rind enrobes a butter scented, yellow paste with lined with blue-green mould. The bloomy rind gives an aroma of fresh white mushrooms and contrasts with the creamy, buttery flavours of the paste. The blue flavour is unpronounced and doesn’t interfere with the overall impression of creamy whipped butter and salad mushrooms on the palate.
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