True characters


David Tiernan, farmer and cheesemaker

My business is . .. Dairy farmer, cheesemaker, and seller of raw milk.

The farm means a lot to me. . . It has been in our family for four generations now. It is where I grew up, so it is a huge part of me. Every field in it holds special memories for me. It is where I learned all I know while working with my late father.

It’s a family business. . . like all farms, everyone helps out when they have to. The farm would not survive without family help.

Glebe Brethan cheese is special because. . . it is our idea, our creation, and it is made on our farm with milk from our cows.

My favourite way to eat it is. . . on its own, with a glass of wine.

My typical day would begin with. . . a cup of coffee at 4.45am.

And would involve. . . anything from milking cows, to making and maturing cheese in the summer. Also 1001 other things that any farmer has to deal with every day.

I love it because. . . It is in my blood. I don’t think I would last too long in an office job. It is very rewarding to work with nature on a daily basis. The joy of seeing new calves being born is just amazing. But it’s hard when things go against you, like the weather. We are so dependent on it. Also, I still get very annoyed if we have a bad run of luck with the animals, and maybe loose a cow or calf, as they are all precious.

My proudest moment was. . . the day our twin sons were born.

The best advice Ive ever been given. . . just do your best.

If I wasn’t doing this. . . I’d go crazy.

When I’m not working .. . I sleep

My ideal day off is spent. . . I dont get a day off.

My dream dinner party guests would be. . . Hector (from 2fm) Brian O’Driscoll, Roy Keane, Veronica Steele of Milleens, and Margaret, my wife. I am not a great cook but I would like to serve some beef from our farm, vegetables from our garden, followed by a cheeseboard of local cheeses like Bellingham Blue, Boyne Valley Blue, and of course our own Glebe Brethan, with plenty of good wine.

I’m passionate about. . . farming

I’m really good at. . . some people say I’m good at making cheese

I wish I was better at. . . taking time off.

I often imagine myself. . . having time off

Not many people know this about me, but. . . I would really like to own a Porsche 911 someday.

My guilty pleasure is. . . chocolate

If I were to describe myself in six words, they’d be. . . just very happy to be alive

In conversation with Marie-Claire Digby