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From farm to Cheese – The Cahill family

Six Nations Guest pizza and Cahill's cheese

Cahill’s Original Irish Porter Cheese featured on our Six Nations guest pizza is often viewed as “the star of the show”, due to its unique and distinctive look and flavour. Combined with other carefully selected ingredients, the award-winning cheese brings all Six Nations ingredients together to create a ‘scrum’ptious pizza for the whole family to enjoy.  

Whether you choose to have your Six Nations guest pizza crafted and baked hot by our chefs in our stone ovens, or you bring the experience of making your own Six Nations pizza to your home with our pizza making kit. In true Birtelli’s style we tell you where your food comes from, so that you too can discover the same passion for quality ingredients through the stories that sit behind your Birtelli’s pizza. 

Cows in pasturelands for cheese making

The Cahill family have been farming and cheese-making in the lush green pasturelands of Ireland’s Golden Vale for over four generations. They are one of the oldest artisanal cheese-making families in Ireland. And here is their story. 


The man who would go on to start Cahill’s Dairy Farm is Great Grand Uncle David Cahill. Originally from Rockchapel in North Cork, he emigrated to the United States as a young man and settled in Lawrence, Massachusetts. By the turn of the century, he had become a successful businessman owning his own bar and horse stables. 


Despite his success, Stateside David longed to return to his native soil so in 1902 he sold his business interests in the United States and returned to Ireland buying a farm in Newcastle West, Co. Limerick for £900. 


 David Cahill passed away, leaving the farm to grandfather William Cahill. Whom married Hannah O’Hanrahan in 1927. They milk 18 cows by hand on a 3 legged stool and develop a local milk and butter round which eventually grows to over 70 customers. Many of the families on the round still live in the area today. 


 William and Hannah go on to have seven children, one boy and six girls. Their only son, David (our father) is born in 1938 and as was tradition in Ireland at the time, he inherits the family farm. 


The new Pasteurisation Act means that milk must now go direct to the creamery to be pasteurised so the long-established milk round is no longer necessary. With a little more time on her hands, Hannah turned her hand to cheese making. 


Having studied Dairy Science at University College Cork in the 1950’s David married Marian in 1966. The newlyweds loved farm life, and have a great passion for farm ingredients to create simple dishes with locally sourced produce. 



David and Marian began to create a range of handcrafted soft cheeses, yoghurts and farmhouse butter which they sell through local shops and markets. Their most popular item is a frozen goats milk which is stocked in many local health stores. 


While rearing a young family of 7 children Marian creates a range of handcrafted speciality flavoured Cheddars, which is where Cahill’s Irish Porter Cheddar is born. 


 Superquinn became the first Irish multiple to list the Cahills Cheese range as they begin to stock Cahills Ballintubber Cheddar with chives and our obvious favourite Cahills Original Irish Porter Cheese in their flagship store in Dublin. 


More flavours were launched to bring the full range to seven delicious cheeses – Cahills Original Irish Porter Cheese, Original Irish Whiskey Cheese, Ardagh Wine Cheese, Ballintubber With Chives, Ballyporeen with Garlic and Herbs, Cheddar with Hazelnuts and Smoked Cheddar with Limerick Ham. 


 David Cahill Jnr. son of David and Marion takes Cahill’s Cheese to America, launching the range in his Irish Pub “The Four Courts” in Arlington, Virginia. It’s 96 years since his great grand uncle, also David Cahill, left America to return to Ireland. 


 A new purpose-built production unit is completed adjacent to the existing unit giving the company a platform for growth as well as generating local jobs while ensuring that direct traceability to the Cahill Family farm is preserved.  


 Cahills Cheese is presented to President Obama as part of the St Patricks Day celebrations at the White House. 


 In 2017, Cahill’s are awarded a Gold Star by the “Guild of Fine Foods” at the Great Taste Awards, as well as Silver Medals at the “International Cheese Awards” and “Mondial Du Fromage” in France. 

2020 and beyond! 

As David and Marion’s family grew so too has the business. All seven children (Liam, Dan, Joan, David, Eoin, Diarmaid and Helen) have played a role in the company’s growth and success. Marion and David‘s involvement remains with Marion regularly overseeing production and tastings as she has done for much of the past four decades. 

Cahill's Cheese Wheel for our six nations guest pizza

This neatly brings us back to the present day and our “star of the show”, Cahill’s Original Irish Porter Cheddar. Blended to create a visually dramatic mosaic pattern which is the most attractive part of the cheese other than its flavour – full, rich, tangy and chocolaty with a pungent finish.  

Storied, attractive and flavoursome, which is why we love this cheese year in, year out, to craft our Six Nations guest pizza.  

It’s the final week of the tournament, which means it’s the final opportunity until next year to sample the Six Nations guest pizza. Here it is in its full descriptive glory…smoked English pulled ham, layered with rich Cahill’s Irish Porter Cheddar. Italian San Marzano tomato sauce and award-winning Scottish fior di latte mozzarella, with the craft of Welsh leeks and French garlic oil. ‘Scrum’ptious!