About Us


The searing relationship between the farmer and his herd defines the Irish experience. As a boy, Jim O’Brien watched his father shuffle across incandescent light and low cloud to fetch his cows for quiet, pre-dawn milking. Hours later, tankards of frothing milk that bubbled at the rim were loaded on the pony trap and ridden to Ballyhahill creamery, a mile of green hedges and warm salutes. There, farmers grouped together on the low village wall and time was measured in the thickening of milk to cheese.

O_Briens_Logo-opt-450pxO’Brien’s cheese represents a devotion to this simple, ritualistic way of life. Some 40 years later, Jim still delights in the rhythm of the twilight milking, the sweet smell of milk, and the quiet hours spent slowly mixing and warming it ’til it reaches the rich, golden consistency that characterizes the delicious flavour of O’Brien’s cheese. The long years of perfecting his recipe and the months spent waiting with an artisan’s patience for wheels to ripen to perfection, have made O’Brien’s cheeses some of the best in the country. Jim O’Brien and his family warmly invite you to share in this experience of tradition, ritual and flavour.

View our product range HERE or please contact us HERE.

Our Cheeses


Hazel Cottage Farm, is family owned and run for eight generations. We are passionate about family, land and animals and have always harboured a love of food, both the production and the sharing with family and friends around the kitchen table.

Feta-Style Salad Cheese

O’Brien’s recently launched their new Feta-Style Salad Cheese. This is a wonderful cheese to liven up your salads. Rich in nutrients, it is crumbly, light and full of rich flavours. Also a favourite in pizzas, pastas and many other cold or cooked recipes.

Bally Brie

Bally Brie is made from cow’s milk and is a soft-ripened cheese, characterized by a white, bloomy rind, with a soft, creamy interior. Our Brie has a buttery flavour, creamy texture and smells fresh with a light hint of mushrooms and the local flora from the fertile pastures of West Limerick.

Aged Cheddar

Our Aged Cheddar is allowed an extended period to mature in a wax rind. This unique cheddar develops a clean sharp flavour that dovetails beautifully with the rich creamy milk from our Jersey Cross cows.

Golden Gouda

Our Gouda has an abundance of natural flavour. It has a sweet and buttery taste that intensifies and lingers on the palate. With a distinctive rich yellow colour and a fresh aroma, the cheese has a bubbled texture associated with a classic Gouda.

 

As artisan cheese makers, we constantly endeavor to refine and improve our cheese and cheese making process. Our Gouda and Cheddar are available from time to time with a variety of added spices and herbs. For more information, please contact us on +353 (0)69 82133 or e-mail us at obrienscheese@gmail.com.

 

Awards


O’Brien’s Artisan Farmhouse Cheese Wins the 2016 Listowel Food Fair National Kerrygold Cheese Competition

O’Brien’s Cheese, Ballyhahill, Limerick were winners of the Ornua Aged Cheddar Award 2016. From left, Trish Kavanagh, Sarah, John, Marie, Jim, James, Louise and Gemma King at the 2016 Listowel Food Fair Celebration Dinner & Awards night in the Listowel Arms Hotel.

O’Brien’s Cheese, Ballyhahill, Limerick were winners of the Ornua Aged Cheddar Award 2016. From left, Trish Kavanagh, Sarah, John, Marie, Jim, James, Louise O’Brien and Gemma King at the 2016 Listowel Food Fair Celebration Dinner & Awards night in the Listowel Arms Hotel.

The Aged Cheddar produced by Jim O’Brien of O’Brien’s Artisan Farmhouse Cheese based in Limerick has won the “2016 Listowel Food Fair National Kerrygold Cheese Competition”–In Association with Ornua. The award was presented to Jim O’Brien last Saturday night at the 2016 Listowel Food Fair – Celebration Dinner & Awards Night at the Listowel Arms Hotel.

Speaking about the award, Jim paid special tribute to his family who have supported every step of his love affair with producing cheese;

“I am totally amazed at how quickly my cheese was recognised nationally. I have been a great admirer of all the Artisan cheese makers in Ireland over the last twenty years. They have encouraged me to make my own cheese because of the high quality of the cheese produced in Ireland. In particular I would like to thank the judges and the Listowel Food Fair festival committee for selecting my Aged Cheddar to be the winner this year.”

The story of O’Brien’s Artisan Farmhouse Cheese and it’s creation is heart rendering with dedication to the family farm, immigration through recession and a happy ending as success was finally achieved. As a boy, Jim O’Brien watched his father shuffle across incandescent light and low cloud to fetch his cows for quiet, pre-dawn milking. Hours later, tankards of frothing milk that bubbled at the rim were loaded on the pony trap and ridden to Ballyhahill creamery, a mile of green hedges and warm salutes. There, farmers grouped together on the low village wall and time was measured in the thickening of milk to cheese.

Today O’Brien’s Artisan Farmhouse Cheese represents a devotion to this simple, ritualistic way of life. Some 40 years later, Jim still delights in the rhythm of the twilight milking, the sweet smell of milk, and the quiet hours spent slowly mixing and warming it ’til it reaches the rich, golden consistency that characterizes the delicious flavour of his distinctive O’Brien’s cheese. The long years of perfecting his recipe and the months spent waiting with an artisan’s patience for wheels to ripen to perfection, have made O’Brien’s cheeses some of the best in the country.

“It was during the tough years of the recession that we decided to make cheese. My son John lost his job as an electrical engineer in Ireland during the recession and was forced to move to Australia to seek new opportunities. At that stage we started to looking at options to bring John back to Ireland and to the family farming business here in Limerick. We wanted to add value to the existing milk business here on the farm and we wanted to create another full time job for a member of our family. When John came back from Australia he took a six month break from his career as an electrical engineer and dedicated his time to supporting both myself and his family in creating my vision to produce Artisan cheese.

            I would like to recognise the great support from Leader and West Limerick Resources because without their financial backing and mentoring guidance we would not have been able to move forward in producing the product. We had to prove that there was a niche in the region and our unique story is that we are the only farming business that produces cheese from the milk of our own dairy herd in County Limerick. This award will enable us to widen our market and gain further brand awareness on a national level for our Aged Cheddar and other cheese products that we produce.”

 

Speaking on behalf of the Irish Dairy Board Ornua Kevin Lane, Chief Executive Officer said:

“Ornua and Kerrygold are delighted to be associated with the 2016 Listowel Food Fair which we recognise to be a long standing and prestigious festival. We are delighted that such a premium cheese from Jim O’Brien of O’Brien’s Artisan Farmhouse Cheese has won the 2016 Listowel Food Fair National Kerrygold Cheese Competition. It is fantastic to see premium cheese of such a high quality being produced to this calibre in a local Irish farm. We would like to congratulate Jim O’Brien and O’Brien’s Artisan Farmhouse Cheese and we wish him continued success”

 

Jim O'Brien of O'Brien's Cheese

Jim O’Brien

Speaking about the 2016 Listowel Food Fair Awards festival Chairman Jimmy Deenihan said: 

“The quality and calibre of the artisan food producers for consideration in all categories this year was very high. The process of adjudication is a detailed and thorough process, whereby the festival committee bring in expertise in the food industry to assess each category. Judges this year included Angela Sheehan, Food Industry Unit of University College Cork, Tom Mulvihill, former Chief Grader of Ornua. Paul O’Connor, Garvey’s Supervalu and Aoife Hannon, Listowel Food Fair Committee. On behalf of the Listowel Food Fair Committee I would like to congratulate each of the winners this year. They have each exceeded in their respective categories and are worthy of recognition for their achievements.”

 

 

The 2016 Listowel Food Fair -Ireland’s longest running food festival celebrates its 22nd consecutive fair this year. Information is available for the 2016 Listowel Food Fair on www.listowelfoodfair.ie

Contact Us


Please contact us from 9am to 5pm - we are more than happy to hear from you!

  • Hazel Cottage Farm, Ballyhahill, Co. Limerick
  • 069-82133
  • obrienscheese@gmail.com
  • Or use the form below: