The British Isles
Most of the cheese produced in the British Isles is made in England. The geography throughout England is fairly damp, with relatively mild winters and cool summers. There are low hills, some rocky outcroppings, but loads of good pastureland. Several thousand years ago sheep prevailed as the primary dairy animal, but during Elizabethan times in the seventeenth century, sheep's milk went out of favor and was replaced by a desire for cow's milk.
Fortunately, the geography and climate are also conducive to cows, and since the seventeenth century, most English cheeses have been made from cow's milk. In the United States, Cheddar is certainly the most famous English cheese, but again, as more English cheese becomes available here, Americans are becoming familiar with other very famous and delightful English cheeses: Cheshire, Gloucester, Stilton, Wensleydale, and Lancashire, to name a few.
In recent years, several outstanding cheese makers from Ireland have made an impact with their cheeses: Adrahan, an aromatic, washed-rind cow's-milk cheese; Cashel Blue, a particularly creamy and piquant blue; and Durrus and Gubbeen, both washed-rind rounds of cow's-milk cheese.
The word cheese has some interesting roots. Cheese has ties to both the Latin and Hindi languages. The Latin word caseus led to the Old English word cese, which led to the word cheese. And, chiz, originally a Hindi word meaning a thing, became an Urdu word meaning cheese. Urdu is the language of Muslims in India.