Cloonconra Cheese - Special Irish Foods & The People Who Make Them


James & Grace Gannon - Cloonconra Cheese

As the raw milk debate rumbles on, it is encouraging that producers have the support of so many groups dedicated to safeguarding traditional farming methods, including Euro-Toques Ireland, which lobbies tirelessly on their behalf and supports small producers in many ways, including their annual food awards.

One of the “important yet challenged” categories that the 2016 EirGrid Euro Toques Food Awards focused on was raw milk cheese, which has been shrinking year on year in the face of regulatory and economic barriers.

Speaking at the awards, Darina Allen said: “Perhaps no artisan product expresses the place and people that produce it as much as raw milk cheese. Each one is unique and almost certainly a labour of love by the cheesemaker, especially as they are increasingly facing challenges in today’s heavily regulated industry.”

According to the judging team their winner in this category, James Gannon of Cloonconra Cheese in Co Roscommon (, is “especially rare, producing not only the cheese but also the milk from which it is made”.

Cloonconra Cheese

Although it is made using raw milk from their pedigree herd of one our most ancient breeds, the endangered native Irish Moiled Cow or ‘Maol’, Cloonconra is one of the newest of Ireland’s farmhouse cheeses, having first been produced by James Gannon on the family’s dairy farm in West Roscommon in 2015.

This breed has been a feature of Irish agriculture for thousands of years and was traditionally famous for the quality of its milk. They are the only farmers milking the Moiled Cow for cheese in Ireland today - which, as the Euro-Toques judges pointed out, is an accolade in itself.

Cloonconra Cheese’s original product is a soft farmhouse cheese with a delicate citrus flavour and rich, creamy texture. The traditional recipe used, which does not involve pasteurisation, allows for a soft cheese to develop in just a few days, while maintaining the freshness and complexity of flavour from the Irish Moiled Cow milk.

Cloonconra Cheese has featured in season on the menus of some very special restaurants including The GreenHouse and Forest Avenue in Dublin, where stockists include Honest2Goodness, Sheridan's and Clontarf Wines.


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