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Moovers and shakers: Clon family’s jersey milk business

February 27th, 2024 3:10 PM

By Martin Claffey

Moovers and shakers: Clon family’s jersey milk business Image
FIRST CUSTOMERS: Sally Kearney hands out some farm fresh Jersey Milk to her first customers Michelle, Eva and Michelle Mockler from Rossmore. (Photo: Martin Walsh.)

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A CLONAKILTY couple have come up with an innovative new way to sell their jersey milk directly to consumers with a mobile milk truck operating in West Cork.

Farmer Michael Cahalane and his wife Sally Kearney have launched Bó Bainne Úr, a specially converted horse box transformed into a hi tech self-service milk dispenser.

The business has just launched after two years of hard work, and will be selling around the Clonakilty area.

‘My husband Michael is a dairy farmer and he rents land,’ said Sally, a family support worker who has taken career break to help Michael with the launch of Bó Bainne Úr.

Customers Carys O’Donovan with some jersey milk and her children Dylan (left) and Iwan all from Balymacowen with Sally. (Photo: Martin Walsh)


Not owning his own land, about two years Michael started looking into smart micro dairies, and was in contact with a company called Unison in Limerick.

Through Unison, he purchased a modular dairy unit – a nine-metre prefabriciated unit which is effectively a mini dairy which can pasteurise milk. However, the hard work began there, as he looked to modify the unit so that it would pass Dept of Agriculture regulations for dairy production.

‘There was a lot of technical regulations which had to be passed, and a lot of work which went into it. We got a lot of support from the regional inspector from the department who was very helpful,’ said Sally.

Last month, the unit finally got approval for use, the first of its kind in Ireland, and Bó Bainne Úr was finally ready for business.

Bó is sold from the company’s mobile milk truck: a specially converted horse box.

The milk is sold in glass bottles which are reusable and can be refilled, though users can bring their own bottle to get filled also. The branded bottles are €3.50 and the milk is sold for €2 a litre or €1 for 500mls.

The milk comes from Michael’s own herd of 300 pure-bred jersey cows in Clonakilty.  ‘Bó Bainne Úr is a healthy product, and our jersey milk has a high calciuim content, high in protein and A2 protein so it’s easy to digest; it’s high in Vitamins D and B12 and omega 3,’ says Sally.

Leah O’Reilly from Clonakilty opted to have some syrup in her jersey milk. (Photo: Martin Walsh)


Sally is on hand to help new users to operate the machine but the plan is for the service to be completely self-service. Users simply choose a bottle if they need to, and then place the bottle in the door of the milk machine, choose if you want a litre or 500mls, tap or pay coins and then wait for the milk to fill.

When the bottle is taken out, the machine automatically cleans for the next user.

Bó has been  sold at various points across Clonakilty, and Sally says there has been great feedback so far.

For those with a sweet tooth, there’s the option of choosing a syrup flavour to add to the milk, with flavours like chocolate, Nutella, and Kinder Bueno.

The plan for Bó Bainne Ur isn’t to take on dairies, says Sally but instead it’s an opportunity to sell what their jersey milk and flavoured milk product directly to consumers. ‘We’re just looking at selling around Clonakilty really. It’s a family business, the kids are all on board too, and  we see it as environmentally friendly as it’s small batch and it really fits in with the idea of farm to fork.’

Left; Farmer Michael Cahalane beside the hatch of the milk dispensing machine. (Photo: Martin Walsh)


While Michael is from Clonakilty, Sally is originally from St Luke’s in Cork City, but the city girl has taken to the country life since they moved back to Clonakilty in 2019, and life as a milk maid!

‘I love living in the country. It is so nice being close to the sea in West Cork. And it’s nice when you’re parking that you can just pull up outside places unlike in the city!’

And she has taken a zen approach to the farm.  ‘Michael taught me how to milk the cows. I actually love milking them now. I find it very relaxing.’

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