In this installment of her Eat Ireland column, Deputy Editor Jocelyn Doyle explores how you can support Irish producers without leaving your home.
It’s no secret that I’m an unrelenting advocate for supporting Irish producers. This year to date has been incredibly difficult for everyone, but small businesses in particular have taken a hit that will mean curtains for many. With this in mind, I’ve pulled together some suggestions for buying quality Irish meat, fish, dairy, booze and other products without having to leave the comfort and safety of your own home. Read on, get ordering, support our local and national economies and enjoy some truly special food and drink while you’re at it.
Irish farmhouse cheeses
In order to lend support to struggling farmhouse cheesemakers, Cáis has launched a ‘Buy Irish Farmhouse Cheese Online’ campaign to encourage consumers to purchase directly from suppliers. The growing list of stockists can be accessed online to allow consumers to buy Irish farmhouse cheese and have it delivered directly to their homes. Chairperson of Cáis and founder of Cashel Farmhouse Cheese Louis Grubb said, “We are devastated at how the Covid-19 public health emergency has impacted on the foodservice business and the economy in Ireland. Members of our association are typically very small, independent producers with few resources behind them. They are, however, very significant to the fabric of rural Ireland and to the food image of our country. It is important the when this crisis has stabilised, and we return to a new normality, that we still have speciality cheesemakers in Ireland. The only way we can ensure the viability of our sector is by doing everything we can to encourage Irish retailers to stock, and promote, our products at this time.” Check out the list of cheeses available online at www.irishcheese.ie.
The fine folks at Cashel Blue are now offering boxes filled with a mixture of local Tipperary produce: free range eggs; organic salad mixes; brown bread; rashers and sausages from Crowe’s farm; and — of course — a selection of Irish cheeses. Choose which size of box you want and away you go. www.cashelblue.com.
Others to note:
- St. Tola goat’s cheese now have an online shop: www.st-tola.ie.
- You can order a great selection of cheeses online from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers at www.sheridanscheesemongers.com.
- Velvet Cloud produces a range of sheep-based healthy products from a family farm, including cheese and yoghurt. Visit their online shop at
With limited options for quality fresh fish in my locality — and having seen the sad closure of several small fishmongers over the past few years — I’m a huge fan of this company, and order a box from them every month or so. Fresh fish is caught daily by a collective of local fishermen, then expertly filleted, and I do mean expertly: there’s nary a bone to be found. Their courier service then drops your chosen selection straight to your door, with everything packaged and ready for your freezer. Not only is the fish top-quality, super-fresh and excellent value for money, but it’s highly sustainable, too. As they say themselves, “We are committed to helping sustain the fishing industry in the Irish Sea and the fleet of Kilkeel. We buy local whenever possible, and any waste from our fish processing operation is used by local fishermen as bait for crab and lobster pots. Our fishermen maintain the highest ethical standards focussing on quality, sustainability and the protection of the natural environment. In doing so, we are all helping to ensure the enjoyment of local seafood for generations to come.” Find them at www.mournefishbox.com.
Others to note:
- Burren Smokehouse offers a wide range of quality artisan smoked fish available for delivery, including lovely Burren boxes filled with local products. www.burrensmokehouse.com.
- Gannet Fishmongers in Galway have an online shop at www.eatmorefish.ie, delivering the fruits of their renowned fish counter nationwide.
I’ve written previously about my love for Broughgammon Farm, so I won’t wax lyrical here, but their ethically-reared rose veal and kid goat are of superb quality. Their boxes of individually-packed cuts of meat are ideal for filling your freezer, and they’ll even throw in a recipe book with your first order. Check them out at www.broughgammon.ie.
James Whelan butchers
James Whelan Butchers are longtime sellers of beef, pork, lamb and poultry on their website. I recommend their beef dripping and pork lard, both amazing ways to add flavour to any dish. Try cooking chips in beef dripping, or using lard to make perfect shortcrust pastry. Bread fried in dripping or lard was a treat my mother used to make us occasionally when we were kids and, while I’m sure your doctor would tell you not to indulge that often, it is truly delicious. Worth adding to the digital trolley! www.jameswhelanbutchers.com.
Others to note:
- Our friendly local butcher Michael Fleming offers delivery around several areas of South County Dublin. To enquire, give Flemings Butchers a call on 01-2967998.
- You’ll find some of the best lamb in Ireland direct from Calveys Achill Mountain Lamb, delivering nationwide. www.calveysachillmountainlamb.ie.
- You can order a selection of award-winning fresh and smoked Skeaghanore Duck products at www.skeaghanore.ie.
- If you prefer free range or organic meat, you’ll find what you’re looking for at the Laois-based Coolanowle Farm. www.organicmeat.ie.
- For something different, Pat Mulcahy of Ballinwillin Farm sells his superb wild boar and organic venison at www.ballinwillinhouse.com.
Ponaire Irish Handcrafted Coffee have won over 17 Great Taste Awards for their coffees since 2009. Order yours online at www.ponaire.ie.
Galway-based craft brewers White Hag Brewery offer their fantastic range of Irish beers online, with free delivery nationwide. Let’s just say I’ve been a very regular customer since the pubs closed. www.whitehagbrewery.ie.
If you’re looking for some spirits to add to your at-home cocktail bar, you could do a lot worse than checking out Glendalough Distillery — with a range of whiskeys, gins and even poitín, they’ve got you covered. www.glendaloughdistillery.com.
If, like me, you keep several different kinds of salt in your kitchen, you should check out Oriel Sea Salt. Not only is it quality cooking salt and rich in minerals and flavour, but a tub will last you a long time — and they deliver, too. www.orielseasalt.com.
One more thing…
To find many more products than are listed here, check out EatForIreland, a new web-based directory app that lists food business open in your area, whether that’s for delivery or collection. Find more information here.