In the burgeoning world of artisanal cheese, Ireland is a land of legend. Starting in the 1970s, a small group of self-taught cheesemakers, centered in the western reaches of County Cork, helped usher in a fine-food revolution by turning an eccentric hobby into an influential craft. By adapting Continental cheesemaking techniques to their remote maritime setting, they managed to transform obscure Celtic names—like Gubbeen, Durrus and Milleens—into internationally recognized gourmet brands.
Now Irish farmhouse cheeses have grown up, as a second generation of cheesemakers has reached adulthood and often diversified their businesses. Along the way, several of Ireland's best cheesemakers have opened up their farms to visitors, making it possible to tour the country with nothing but fine cheese on your itinerary.
"Ireland would be one of the fun tours," says Rob Kaufelt, the owner of Murray's Cheese Shop, a prime New York cheesemonger, talking about options for cheese-loving travelers. The country is a great choice, he says, "because of the people," and because of the uniqueness of the cheese itself. "Irish grass is noteworthy," he says, and he wouldn't "mistake Irish cheese for anything else." (Read entire article.)