Comeragh Mountain Lamb

Lamb is widely produced throughout Ireland, but the size, texture, flavour and season vary considerably depending on the terrain and climate, with the main division being between lowland lamb (large breeds, typically with the familiar creamy wool, early season) and upland or mountain lamb (smaller and very agile, typically black faced with a shaggy coat; later and leaner than lowland lamb, the flesh has a distinctive flavour).

Mountain lamb is in season from early autumn to late winter and is much sought after by chefs; areas such as Kerry and Connemara are well known for their lamb (Connemara Hill Lamb has achieved European PGI status), but other less famous mountainous areas also have their own speciality produce – including the Comeragh Mountains, in County Waterford.

EuroToques Comeragh Lamb PresentationChampioned by Michael Quinn, Executive Head Chef at Waterford Castle, farmer Willie Drohan of Comeragh Mountain Lamb was one of five producers honoured by Euro-Toques Ireland ( at their annual Food Awards in October.

Willie Drohan is the sixth generation of his family to herd sheep in the Comeragh Mountains in Co Waterford. The Scottish Black-faced sheep that Willie herds were introduced to the areas by landlords in 17th and 18th centuries. From the age of ten, Willie had a passion for shepherding sheep, an interest developed and nurtured by his family who passed on their tradition, skill and experience to him, that they in turn had learned from their ancestors.

Drohan’s flock roams free range over extensive areas of the Comeragh mountains. They graze over a much broader and more varied landscape than the lowland varieties. On the mountains, they eat grasses, herbs, wild flowers, heathers and drink natural spring water, all free from chemicals and pesticides.

Due to this fact they have significantly more omega 3 fatty acids in their tissues than average lamb. The lamb is slaughtered locally by an artisan butcher and is dry aged for ten days. All of this contributes to the unique, distinctive and delicate flavour of Comeragh Mountain lamb.

Comeragh Lamb - EuroToques PresentationThrough this award Euro-Toques gave recognition to a food with true ‘terroir’, a product of its natural surroundings, something that could not be recreated anywhere else, because the flavour results from the unique combination and variety of foodstuffs and environment. Like the other farmers awarded by Euro-Toques this year, Willie started putting a value on his product, creating a market for it and getting the price he needed and felt it deserved.

Encouraged by Chef Michael Quinn from Waterford Castle, Willie now also supplies other restaurants directly, as well as Ardkeen Stores in Waterford ( and farmers markets, and sells direct to consumers through his website,

The Irish branch of Euro-Toques, the international chefs’ association dedicated to promoting local sourcing and protecting culinary heritage was established by Myrtle Allen in 1986, with the assistance of three founding Commissioners, and its influence is growing each year.

[Presentation shot in Residence  (L-R) Willie Drohan, Comeragh Mountain Lamb, Waterford, Michael Quinn, Executive Head Chef at Waterford Castle, Aidan Dunwoody, Comeragh Mountain Lamb, Waterford and David Martin, EirGrid]


This classic dish makes a lovely, easy Sunday roast for the colder months. The meat, vegetables and potatoes are all cooked together.

Serves 4-6.

Click for recipe

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