Meet our food champions...

Siobhán Ní Ghairbhith

People want to get on to farms and meet the producers. A real genuine working Irish farm has something special to offer, an authentic experience.

Siobhán Ní Gháirbhith

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Twitter: @StTolaCheese
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Siobhán Ní Ghairbhith

Portrait of Siobhan Ni GhairbhithBeloved Cheesemaker, Steward of the Land, Sharer of Goodness | Inagh, North Clare

Siobhán Nì Ghairbhith was described by food writer John McKenna as “not just a cheesemaker, but a philosopher of food; a philosophy which is expressed in the most elementally delicious way. She brings forth goodness and share it with us. She knows who she is, what she wants to achieve and she knows how to achieve it”.

Siobhán knew what she wanted when she left a “permanent and pensionable” job as a teacher to become a farmer. The farm owned by her grandfather had been leased out by her parents, but Siobhán felt drawn to the land, “felt someone should look after it”.

Today she and her partner John Harrington sustainably farm those 70 acres, milking 200 goats. Siobhán is one of Ireland’s most respected and beloved cheesemakers, producing St. Tola Goats Cheese since 1999 when she took over this business from a retiring cheesemaker.

Keeping crafts and traditions alive, and raising their profile, is very much part of Siobhán’s make-up. She is eager to preserve food and farming practices, but in addition has a great love of traditional music and Irish heritage, and is a fluent Irish speaker. Couple that with a warm, open and vivacious personality and you get an ideal ambassador for Irish food and culture.

Good news then that food tourism has in recent years become an integral part of the farm business. After a Fáilte Ireland research trip to Canada, she set-up official farm tours where visitors can experience their sustainable farming practices, see the cheese-making process and taste the cheese.

Siobhán is a prominent figure in Irish food and an active member of Burren Eco-tourism Network & Burren Food Trail, Slowfood and the TASTE Council of Ireland.