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, whilst working to promote Irish farmhouse 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 email your completed membership form to email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
Sabanero is the first cheesemaker in Galway city, run by Dayana Maltese an Italo-Venezuelan with her heart in Ireland.
Sabanero specialises in fresh cheeses using an old formula from Latin America, a cheese that is versatile, perfect for grilling, cooking and grating; the authentic cheese used in Mexican and Latin-American cuisine.
Sahanero supply their award winning cheese to a number of delicatessen stores across Ireland as well as wholesale to restaurants and directly through their website.
They pride themselves on producing a premium, fresh, young cheese similar to halloumi using 100% A1 cows milk from their local farmers in Galway, and a cheese that is suitable for vegetarians commonly known as Queso Fresco. This newly established dairy factory in Galway City will expand their offering in 2022.
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.
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.