Ann and Pat O’Farrell have been making cheese Carrigaline Farmhouse cheese at their dairy near the village of Carrigaline in East Cork, Ireland since 1982. This was the same year the reduction in milk quotas acted as such a spur to the commencement of farmhouse cheesemaking all over Ireland.
After attending a cheesemaking course in 1983-84 and some three years of experimentation and market research, Pat and Ann were finally ready to launch their first cheese, Carrigaline Plain in 1986.
Milk for production was originally sourced from Pat’s father’s forty acre dairy farm, which has been in the family for several generations. Although Pat and Ann took it over in 1987, in 2000 Pat made the decision to focus entirely on the cheesemaking and give up milk production. They now lease the property to a tenant farmer and the O’Farrells buy their milk from a neighbor to whom Pat transferred his milk quota in 2000. The herd consists of pedigree Friesians grazing on rich, limestone pasture.
The name Carrigaline is derived from the Gaelic words Carraig-Ui-Leighin meanign “Rock of the Lynes”. The Lynes were an old Irish family who built a stone castle on a high hill consisting of limestone rock in 1170 AD. Anne & Pat’s farm lies in the shadow of the now crumbling castle.
The O’Farrells make three types of cheese at Carrigaline; a natural, plain cheese, a version made with garlic and herbs and a smoked version.
Smoked Carrigaline is smoked over beechwood that is sourced from the nearby Coolmore estate. Made year round, cheeses are cooked and pressed before being coated in brown wax which helps to preserve moisture.