D. Dunne & Son Haulage has been on the go for in excess of fifteen years, having been founded by Damien Dunne in the early 2000’s.
A family who focus all of their energy on the industry, Damien’s wife Eileen admits they are as dedicated as they come.
“It takes over your life in one respect, but it (trucking) is what we love doing,” Eileen said.
The only farming link the family truly have is through some of the work they carry out, land reclamation and bog work.
“The only real farming work we do is land reclamation and there has been a big interest in that from farmers lately”, Eileen noted.
How it all Began -
Not a random entry into the sector, Damien inherited his love for trucks and the industry from his father Noel, who worked behind the wheel for the majority of his life.
An out-and-out family-run operation, Noel continues his haulage career to this day, helping Damien carry out some of the family’s driving duties. The family operate on the hill of Allen, in Kilmeague, near Naas in Co. Kildare and you no doubt have stumbled upon or passed one of their distinct blue lorries, traveling on one of the countries many roads.
“Damien’s father was a lorry driver for over forty years. What is in you is in you and that’s where Damien got it from”, Eileen explained to That’sFarming’s Kevin.
“It was just a natural progression that he would go his own way and out on his own. His father then went to work for him...his father still does all the daily checks and maintenance”, he added.
A real family-run enterprise, every one of the family is involved in the business, with Noel and Damien behind the wheel, Eileen in control of office duties and finance, and their two sons Ned and Dj, aged eight and fourteen, also holding a heavy interest in trucks and the company in general
“Back in the day Damien couldn’t get enough of it (haulage) and our own kids now have a great interest in trucks too”, Eileen said.
“The youngest is only eight and he can drive a mini-digger better than I can and our oldest lad is fourteen and he would put most men to shame the way he can work a big dozer”, Eileen laughed.
They have now been in operation for over 15-years and so successful are the family, that they even won the Fleet Transport haulier of the year for two years in a row in the ‘Owner/Driver” section back in 2013 and 2014.
Service-wise, the majority of work carried out by D.Dunne & Son's haulage is based upon the drawing and delivering of soils, stones, sands and gravels. Fully licensed, the Dunne’s pride themselves on a job well done and deliver a lot of produce for landscaping work. Their duties even had them carrying out work on Croke Park in recent years.
As mentioned above, the also recently got into undertaking bog work upon a neighbours request, while they have also become increasingly busy with land reclamation work.
“We have a lot of ‘boggy’ land around here, which means it would be very bad for drainage.” said Eileen.
“There has been a huge uptake in reclamation lately and because we have plant machinery ourselves...it is a service that we are able to provide from start to finish.”, Eileen noted.
The team also hold a National Waste collection permit, which enables them to cover Kildare, Offaly and all surrounding areas and provide them with waste collection services and full site clearance services. They also offer grab hire, tipper services and concrete deliveries (through Hanlon Concrete).
The team currently have six lorries on the road at any given time, with further contracted lorries brought in when the workload becomes too hectic. Generally, Damien spends the vast majority of their working hours behind the wheel, helped out by his father Noel, Jerome Nolan, Liam Cearney, Garry Moore and Robbie Morrie, not to mention Damien’s co-pilots Ned and Dj.
“Damien has a motto to never give anyone else work, that you wouldn’t do yourself...He would always work longer hours than everyone else and make sure the fleet is fully roadworthy, there is never a corner cut in that regard,” said Eileen.
“We are very lucky with the people we have working with us. They are all very qualified and we could wholeheartedly stand behind the way they handle themselves on a daily basis,” she added.
As mentioned, Damien and the team currently have six trucks making up his impressive fleet. These vary from Man and Hino's, with Damien himself taking one of the oldest lorries in the fleet, a 2007 Hino 700.
Trucks - 151 Man TGS, 2006 TGA Man (bought from new), Three Hino 700’s (141, 2007 and a 2005 which is demountable with a drive-on mixer or tipper body), a 2009 Hino 500 tipper grab.
Eileen says that Damien is happier to let other drivers take the newer lorries, as he knows they are likely to take “better care” of them than himself.
“They are kept in top order and he knows they would be kept in way better condition that if he were driving them himself”, said Eileen.
On the plant machinery side of things, used in clearance, land reclamation and bog work, the Dunne’s have a Yanmar Mini-digger, a CAT C3 bulldozer and a Manitou teleporter.
Plans for the future -
Eileen admits that at some point in the coming years, Damien may have a couple of challengers for his seat behind the wheel. His two sons are likely to follow up their interest in trucks and pursue a career within the family business, having inherited the truckin’ gene from their father.
“Nobody wants my job for some reason”, Eileen joked.
The family may also look into diversifying further in the future, having this year begun working on bogs and reclaiming land, and this is something Eileen counts as a playing a key role in their success thus far.
“You always have to be thinking what is the next step ahead...I am always looking to expand”, Eileen said.
Otherwise, the Dunne family and D.Dunne & Son's haulage hope to continue with the steady stream of work they have, while also diversifying further and continuing to provide the top-end service, now synonymous with the Dunne name.
“We would hope that the future would keep us trading with the level of customers that we have been. You are only as good as your last job”, Eileen stated.
“It has been the quality of customers over the past few years that has kept us going, such as the likes of Hanlon concrete who we have been drawing with for over ten years now. Once we can keep in with them and grow a bit more, we will be happy enough”, she continued.
What keeps them truckin’? -
Why does Damien and the Dunne’s keep going? Simply, it is all they and Damien have ever known. Born and raised in a lorry, it was always inevitable that Damien would develop such a strong ‘grá’ for the industry.
Not only do the family retain a huge interest in trucks and haulage in general, but Damien and Eileen also want to leave a lasting legacy for their two boys. They do what they do to provide the best possible life for their kids, with the hopes of providing them with a safeguarded future.
“We want to be able to provide a good personable service for everyone. But at the end of the day, we are a husband and wife team with two young kids and we want to be able to provide something for the future to them.”, Eileen concluded.
A real family run enterprise, continuing to make waves out of Kilmeague, Co. Kildare. On the road for fifteen years, there is no doubt we will see the unique blue sheen of D. Dunne & Son's Haulage appearing on our roads for many years to come, that's if his sons have their way.
If you want to get in touch with Damien or the team, you can do so via their official Facebook page here.