Ireland is experiencing an artisan cheese Renaissance and it has never been a better time to enjoy the wide range of super high quality cheeses on offer. Renowned for its high quality dairy, pristine grazing lands and clean air, Ireland is a natural destination for top notch cheesemaking. Producers like Gubbeen, Cashel Blue and Durrus have long been appreciated by international gourmets and in recent years there have been countless up and coming farmhouse cheesemakers creating a foodie stir such as Dingle Pensinsula Cheese, Knockdrinna and Croghan to name a few. Here is a short list of some of the finest Irish Cheese Producers, operations both large and boutique
Ardrahan– from Kanturk, in County Cork this farm makes semi soft cow’s milk cheese in plain and oat smoked forms.
Ardsallagh Goat’s cheese– From Carrigtwohill, near Cork city, this family run cheese maker specialize in goat’s cheese (soft and hard) and yoghurt made with milk from their own goat herd, they sell the goat’s milk.
Bandon Vale– Also from Cork, this is a commercial cheese producer making a range that includes Vintage (mature nutty cheese), Murragh (Irish cheddar) and Glandór (mellow Red Leicester).
Baylough– Hard pressed and waxed, aged cheese made with milk from a herd of both Friesians and Red and White Dutch cows. They make oak-smoked and plain flavors as well as fresh garlic.
Beal Organic Cheese– The organic dairy farm of Beal Lodge is located in County Kerry and the make organic Farmhouse Cheeses and yogurts. It is one of about 25 organic dairies in Ireland. They have a pedigree her of Holstein cows produce 2 cheeses- wensleydale style Beal cheese and a cheddar style.
Bellingham Blue Cheese– soft blue cheese made with raw cow’s milk at the Glyde Farm in Castlebellingham, County Louth.
Blarney– Made by Kerrygold, Ireland’s most famous butter producer, Blarney cheese (named after the famous Castle in County Cork) is a mild, semi-hard cheese made from cows’ milk. Comes in low fat version.
Blue Rathgore– a full vegetarian blue cheese made from goat’s milk in Northern Ireland, in County Antrim (beautiful region where you will find Dunluce castle and the spectacular Giant´s Causeway).
Boilie– These much loved little fresh cheese curds are actually hand rolled and come in glass jars filled with oil and herbs. They can be used in salads or spread on Irish soda bread, delicious. Made at the Ryefield Farm in Bailieboro, Co. Cavan.
Burren Gold– This cheese is made in the unique Burren region in County Clare. Friesean cows graze on wild grass and herbs in the fertile valleys in between the rugged limestone hills, producing milk that comprises this Gouda style cheese. The cow’s milk is unpasteurized and a farmhouse cheese as such. The cheeses are also flavored with Nettles & Garlic, Fenugreek seed, Black pepper, Cumin and oak smoked.
Cahills Irish Monastic Cheeses– 3rd generation, family owned, artisanal cheesemakers, located in County Limerick. They are known for their Irish Whiskey Cheese (vintage cheddar) made with Kilbeggan Whiskey. Range of cheese includes Cahill’s Kilbeggen Irish Whiskey, Ardagh Chalice Wine Cheese and Ballyporeen Cheese with Irish Herbs.
Carlow Farmhouse Cheeses– These cheeses are edam style, cheeses made with raw milk from a single dairy herd. They come in plain and flavored (Sun dried Tomato, Basil garlic, Nettles & Dried Onions, Black Pepper, Chili and Cumin) styles.
Carrigaline Farmhouse Cheese – Another very popular cheese in Ireland, Carrigaline has a very buttery texture and is an artisan cow’s milk semi soft cheese made by Ann and Pat O’Farrell in County Cork (Carrigaline) at the “Rock” (under the shadow of the castle in ruins). Wonderful natural cheese, a “must buy” while in Ireland.
Carrigbryne Farmhouse Cheese– see “St Killian”. They also make Irish Brie & St.Brendan Brie.
Cashel Blue– Blue Roquefort style cheese made in Tipperary by the Grubb family, this is probably Ireland’s most famous cheese and is well known internationally. Used in all of Ireland’s top restaurants and featured in numerous cookbooks.
Clonmore Goats Cheese– Distinctive hard goat´s cheese made by Tom and Lena Biggane in Charleville, Country Cork (relatively new company). Adored by Irish cheese fanatics, Clomre is gaining international attention quickly.
Coolea Farmhouse Cheese– Gouda style cheese made with aged cow’s milk in Coolea, in the scenic hills that border the counties of Cork and Kerry. Founded by a Dutch cheesemaker and now run by her son, Coolea is well established as one of Ireland’s classic cheeses.
Cooleeney Farmhouse Cheese– Camembert-like cheese made from unpasteurised cows’ milk in Moyne, County Tipperary by the Maher family. Brands include Cooleeney, Gort na Mona, Maighrean, Dunbarra Garlic & Dill, Dunbarra natural and Dunbarra Pepper- Camembert-like cheese made from unpasteurised cows’ milk in Moyne, County Tipperary by the Maher family. Brands include Cooleeney, Gort na Mona, Maighrean, Dunbarra Garlic & Dill, Dunbarra natural and Dunbarra Pepper
Corleggy Farmhouse Cheese– The farm is located on the bank of the River Erne, between Cavan and Fermanagh counties. Quivy and Corleggy are their goat´s cheeses and the cow´s milk cheeses include Drumlin Traditional, Garlic and Red Pepper, Cumin, Smoked and Green Peppercorn.
Cratloe Hills Cheese– Sean & Deirdre Fitzgerald make fantastic sheeps´ cheeses at this farm in County Clare, halfway between Shannon and Limerick. They make two cheeses- mild (nutty and semi hard) and mature (hard and drier), both with 100% sheep’s milk .
Croghan– Soft and hard raw goat’s milk cheese made in Blackwater, County Wexford, overlooking the Irish Sea.
Crozier Blue– Made in Tipperary county by the Grubb family (Cashel Blue), this is an artisanal, semi-soft, blue cheese made from sheep’s milk.
Derreenaclaurig– True artisan cheese made by Harry van der Zanden in the dramatically atmospheric Kerry village of Sneem. The tiny production is made with milk from his own Jersey cow herd. Range of small production cheeses from plain, aged, cumin flavored, garlic flavored- almost all is sold in local farmer’s markets and restaurants.
Derrymore Cheese– Farmhouse cheese made in Claremorris County Mayo.
Desmond– made in Schull in West Cork (same producer as Gabriel cheese). Hard, raw milk cheese.
Dingle Peninsula Cheese– Terrific cheese from a beautiful corner of Ireland (made in Kilcummin Beg, Castlegregory, in County Kerry). Very unique in that the raw cow’s milk cheese is flavored with seaweed! Owners Maja Binder and Olivier Beaujouan are well known and well loved personalities in Ireland’s foodie scene and their cheeses are very recommended.
Dubliner – Ireland’s most widely sold cheddar ironically not made in Dublin at all, but rather in Ballineen (West Cork) by Carbery Natural Cheese. The cheese is matured for 12 months and has a rather sweet flavor (as opposed to a sharp cheddar).
Durrus Farmhouse Cheese – this award winning cheese is made in a stunning corner of West Cork, near the hamlet of Durrus and the super Good Things Café. Owner Jeffa Gill was one of the artisan cheese pioneers of Ireland, along with Giana Ferguson of Gubbeen, and has been making fabulous cheese since the late 70´s, way before it was in fashion. Durrus is round, semi soft and made with cow´s milk then aged.
Fermoy Natural Cheese (Cais Dubh)– yet another cheese company in County Cork, Ireland’s artisan food epicenter, Frank and Gudrig Shinnik make a Gouda style cheese called Cais Dubh.
Gabriel– made in gourmet hotspot Schull in West Cork. Hard, raw milk cheese, reminiscent of Gruyere with its wheel shape and texture. Fruity! Bill Hogan and Sean Ferry of West Cork Natural Cheese make this and the equally wonderful Desmond cheese.
Gubbeen – Mythical cheese producer (as well as charcuterie from their smokehouse) Giana and Tom Ferguson are true culinary pioneers in Ireland. Their pretty farm is located in West Cork just outside the picturesque hamlet of Schull and they make both smoked and unsmoked artisan cheese with cows milk from their own herd. Don’t leave Ireland without bringing Gubbeen with you! Their products are 100% top class.
Hegarty´s Cheddar– Dan and John Hegarty’s famous cheddar is made with their own Freisan herd’s milk in Whitechurch, Co. Cork. Excellent.
Killeen Farmhouse Cheese– This gouda style cheese is made by Marion Roeleweld (who is also a traveling cheese consultant for brands like Mossfield Organic Gouda) at the Killeen Millhouse in Ballyshrule (County Galway in Connemara). They make goat’s cheese, plain cow’s milk cheese, and herb and garlic flavored cheese.
Knockalara – feta-style award winning cheeses made in County Waterford near Cappoquin, by Wolfgang and Agnes Schliebitz. The range includes Dromana Natural; Pepper; Sesame and Fine Herbs then the Waterford Feta and Knockalara Sheep’s cheese (which also comes packed in olive oil).
Knockanore – Eamonn and Patricia Lonergan have been making this award winning cow’s milk cheese in Ballyneety, County Waterford for over 20 years. Their cheeses are adored by connoisseurs throughout the Emerald Isle and come in many styles- Plain, Garlic and herbs, Garlic and chive, Red, Black pepper and chive and Oak smoked.
Knockdrinna – Boutique cheese producer in Stoneyford ,County Kilkenny making a wide variety of cheeses from cow´, goat and sheep milk. That includes Knockdrinna Gold Goats Cheese, Knockdrinna Meadow Sheeps Cheese, Lavistown Cheese (which they have taken over; this is a long establish Irish farmhouse cheese), Knockdrinna Snow, Knockdrinna Fresh Pesto with Goats Cheese, Knockdrinna Fresh Goat Log, Knockdinna Goats Greek style soft goat´s cheese.
Lavistown Cheese – see Knockdrinna
Milleens– A stunning Irish farmhouse cheese (cows milk), made in the beautiful Beara Peninsula, West Cork.
Mine-Gabhar– Organic cheese made by Luc and Anne Van Kampen.
Mount Callan– This cheese company was founded by Michael and Lucy Hayes in 2000 in County Clare. The aged cheeses are made with cow’s milk from their own herd of Montbelliard cows and is produced in summer via a traditional cheddar method.
Oisin Farmhouse Cheese– Organic goat’s milk cheeses made at a farm run by Rochus & Rose van der Vaard in County Limerick.
Old McDonnells Farm– Located in beautiful Glen of the Downs in Wicklow, this farm makes all kinds of products including goat’s milk cheeses.
Orla – Made at the Manch Estate in Ballineen, County Cork, this cheese is organic, unpasteurized, and semi hard made with sheep’s cheese. They also make ricotta.
St Tola Goat´s Cheese– from County Clare, these are both hard and soft goat’s cheese following the French tradition. Very popular and used in many top Irish restaurants.
St Killian– this Camembert style cheese is made by the Carrigbyrne Farmhouse in County Wexford with raw cows milk and vegetarian rennet.
Wicklow Blue– John & Bernie Hempenstall make this delicate blue brie in the gentle countryside of County Wicklow.