The Cheese Press is a Universe Unto Itself

Archive - all the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

Some food shops create a universe unto themselves. In Ennistymon, in County Clare, Sinead Ni Ghairbhith’s The Cheese Press is a self-contained world.
You might walk in here to buy some cheese, or to get a cup of the fine, locally roasted Anam coffee, and find that you are still there an hour later, maybe just chatting away to all and sundry, or maybe you decided to head down the stairs and found yourself joining a yoga class.
Cheese. Yoga. Coffee. The universe. It’s all here.
It’s all there thanks to Ms Ni Ghairbhith’s fulsome personality. The woman is a Clare Champion all to herself, proud promoter of local cheeses, breads, chutneys, teas, juices, crafts, muiscians. “Luka Bloom came in, and he did an impromptu session sitting at that seat there,” says Sinead, and the only surprise is that Luka ever went home. Mind you, when he did, the chances are he had half the shop going with him, just as we had. We had the coffees, and then loaded up with sandwiches, cheese, juices, local organic vegetables.
We even bought a pair of Mongolian slippers. We also sang “Congratulations!” to the pair of newly-weds from New Jersey. It’s that kind of place. 
With the brilliant Pot Duggan’s pub, now run by Bodytonic, just up the street, Ennistymon has gotten its mojo back, after a long while in the doldrums. The Cheese Press isn’t just a shop: it’s an experience, a blast, a tonic for the traveller, a West Coast whirlwind.