Renowned for its high quality dairy, pristine grazing lands and clean air, coupled with a temperate climate, especially in the southern part of the country, Ireland is a natural destination for artisan cheesemaking. In fact, in traditional Irish culture, dairy cattle were seen as a measure of wealth and social standing and were often used as a form of currency. By the seventeenth century, however, oppressive English laws had effectively killed the Gaelic farm economy and with it, the traditional cheesemaking culture. Butter became the means by which small farmers paid rent, and also became sought after in international trade. It wasn't until the early 20th century that cheesemaking re-appeared, with slow growth until the 1970s when a greater number of farmhouse cheesemakers, especially focussed in the southwest part of the country, began experimenting. This style of small, hand-made production continues to be a defining feature in the diverse range and exceptional quality of Irish farmhouse cheeses. We recommend beginning with a few of our favourites: CASHEL BLUE, DURRUS and COOLEA.