A Tipperary man through and through having been raised near Cashel in the Premier County. He now resides not far from where he was reared, less than half a mile from where he used to call home.
“I’m living a half a mile from where I was born and bred.” Brendan explained.
He does not hail from a farming background and instead was brought up amongst a flurry of machinery, with Brendan’s father, John, running his own Plant Hire business, John Woods Plant hire.
“My father worked with plant machinery all of his life, diggers and dozers, that kind of stuff.” Brendan told That’sFarming’s Kevin.
This meant that Brendan’s younger years were often spent in the cab of a machine alongside his father and nothing made him happier.
“From the time I was three or four, I used to go off in the Bulldozer with him on a Saturday and stuff like that.” Brendan said.
His father offered not only agriculturally based plant hire work, such as land drainage, land reclamation, laneways etc, but also offered site work and construction services. Brendan also recounts a few days where school was missed, in order to help out on one of the family’s HYMAC machines.
“I grew up with machines.” The Tipperary man stated.
“When I was a young fella in Primary school, I remember he used to take me out early and put me up on an HYMAC 580c,” he laughed.
There were many more instances of Brendan helping his father out on some of his many plant machinery jobs throughout his youth and it was these experiences that reaffirmed to Brendan, that his future didn’t lie with further education, but rather behind the wheel of a machine of some sort.
“When you’re a young lad driving a Hymac and everyone else is in school, you were never as happy.” Brendan chuckled.
Brendan’s father still works with machinery to this day, operating on a semi-retired basis.
“He is 74 going on 75 years of age.” Brendan said.
“He is still working away…In later years he got into doing tarmacadam and that kind of stuff”
For those of you wondering where Brendan’s interest in trucks and ‘All Things Haulage’, that again can be traced back to his father, John, in the shape of a lorry (an AEC) and low-loader, used for transporting some of the family’s many machines.
“My father always had a lorry with a low-loader,” Brendan said.
“I used to love the lorries back then” he added.
Brendan’s journey -
This interest in machinery and trucks, in particular, was further strengthened once Brendan made his way to secondary school, with the Tipperary man never really holding too much enthusiasm for the books.
“School never liked me much and I never liked it much, so I didn’t last too long,” Brendan chuckled.
The haulier and a close friend at the time who now also works within the industry, Philip Ryan, both spent their remaining days in school not studying books on the syllabus, but rather truck books hidden in their school bags and thus an addiction was born.
“When everyone else was doing their lessons, we have a school bag full of truck books.” Brendan laughed.
“It all started from there.”
Having always been “messing” with machines as a teenager, upon Brendan’s eventual departure from school he took on his first role, where he worked as a mechanic. This post he kept for three years, that was until he officially began working within the haulage industry, for Quinn International in Thurles.
“I was always messing with engines as a young lad and then I went working/training as a mechanic, In a local garage up the road.” Brendan explained.
“I gave three years there and I left then and went working on trucks for Quinn International in Thurles…I gave a year with John Quinn in the garage and then I decided I wanted to go back out on my own” he continued.
This led to the Tipperary native switching his focus back to driving machinery, rather than working on them and it subsequently led to Brendan purchasing his first piece of machinery, an FH130 Hitachi, following in his father’s footsteps.
“I bought my first track machine when I was twenty.” Brendan told Kevin.
This saw Brendan carrying out mainly forestry work for a local company during the winter months, with summers spent offering land reclamation and drainage services. He had two full-time employees on the books.
“Back then, I got in with the forestry…I started off with one machine and I then ended up with a couple of machines.” said the Tipperary man.
“The winter months were spent doing the forestry and the summer months was for land reclamation and that kind of stuff.”
Brendan’s official entry into the haulage sector under his own name came at the age of 21, upon the purchase of his first lorry and completion of his licences. The lorry was only bought for use by himself at first, that was until the calls came flooding in.
“I have the licences since I was 20…I bought my first lorry when I was 21, a Renault Manager.” Brendan said.
“I was just pulling the low-loader with that, that’s what it was bought for. Then, I started doing a bit of work at weekends, moving machinery for other lads and bits and pieces…It just started getting busier and busier.”
From here, Brendan quickly gained other more consistent haulage consignments, in the shape of steel transportation from his brothers (Tony) recently founded steel factory in Co. Offaly.
“Back around 2001/2002, my brother opened up a small steel factory in Birr, Co. Offaly and I started doing the haulage with the one lorry I had.” Brendan stated.
“Next thing it went from one lorry to two lorries and it just expanded.”
This is what truly marked Brendan’s beginning in the industry and the workload only increased as the years passed, with Brendan’s brother building a purpose-built factory in Laois, which subsequently led to more work for the Tipperary man.
“From there, things just got busier with the boom and that’s how it really took off with the lorries.” Brendan explained.
Services offered/Team involved -
Brendan now runs his operation under the prefix Erry Transport, though everybody simply knows his fleet as Brendan Woods Transport.
He has now been behind the wheel for what is almost 19 years and the man from the Premier County, wouldn’t trade it for the world. His main port of call nowadays is still flat trailer and low loader work, mainly throughout the UK. In fact, he has eleven lorries drawing consignments from Midlands Steel in London.
“It is mainly flat trailer and low-loader work.” Brendan told Kevin of That’sFarming.
Brendan still drives on a full-time basis to this day, spending his weeks drawing loads in the UK.
“Every weekend I come back in on a Friday and I will ship back out again on Sunday night, stay in the UK for the week and come back again” he said.
Brendan currently has a team of ten drivers working alongside himself, with a full-time mechanic also working with the team and another employee running the office.
“We keep busy anyway, that’s the main thing.”
For those of you who think you have never seen any of Brendan’s fleet, the odds are if you ever attended a truck show in Ireland, you most definitely have.
“I have a mixed fleet. I have Scania, I have DAF and I have some Volvo.” Brendan said.
He currently has a team of ten lorries within his ranks, though there are two in particular which catch the eye. The trucks within the fleet include a Scania R620, Scania R520, DAF 460, DAF CF Space Cab, Volvo 460’s, Volvo 500’s, Volvo 540.
The pride and joy of Brendan’s fleet, as you may have guessed, is the Scania R620, which is painted with the picture of the man in black that is Johnny Cash. He also has another famed lorry within the fleet, a DAF 460 Superspace, specially painted with images from the famous “The Field” movie by Jim Sheridan. These works were a combined effort by Kenny and Sean Ross and Sean Egan.
“I just wanted something that would have an Irish theme, that would never fade away.” said Brendan of ‘The Field’ design.
Make - Scania
Model - R620
Year - 2007
Extras - Specially painted with Johnny Cash graphics.
“The R620 Scania I drive myself, the Johnny Cash one…I bought it brand-new in 2007” Brendan explained.
“I just liked the music and just liked the theme of it.” said Brendan of the truck’s unique paint job.
The truck is consistently winning awards at truck shows throughout the country. This year, Brendan’s R620 took home the top prize for the best custom truck at the Dualla show and the overall Truck of the show prize.
Future Hopes -
For those who are wondering about future upgrades entering Brendan’s fleet, he actually has one lined-up to join in 2019. It will arrive with a custom paint job of the now deceased Professional motorcyclist, William Dunlop.
“I have a new Volvo being done at the moment.” Brendan said.
“I am putting a tribute to the Dunlop’s on it. That will be out for February of next year,”
In terms of the future of the company, Brendan will continue, as always, looking at how to improve in any way, shape or form, even if that means further expansion.
“I’ll never say never,” said Brendan of adding further trucks to the fleet.
“You won’t get anywhere by sitting in the corner, you have to take your chance. You only have one go at it and there’s no point looking back in ten years’ time thinking you should have. If it works it works, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. You’ll never know unless you try.” He advised.
Father of three Brendan also admits that he will not be the last of the Woods family to enter the industry and work behind the wheel of a truck, with his youngest son Darragh (20) retaining the same grá which has afflicted Brendan for over twenty years.
“I have a young fella coming up and he can take over the show” Brendan laughed.
Why Haulage -
Only 44-years-old, Brendan has been involved in haulage for what is now the majority of his life, having begun his journey back in the early 2000’s.
“When things are going right it’s the best job in the world.” Brendan said.
To him, a life behind the wheel is not nor never will be a job, but rather a way of life.
“It’s just a way of life. The one thing about lorries is you have to just keep at it and stay with it.” Brendan advised.
“Lorries are like a disease, once it gets into you, you’ll never get away with it.” He laughed.
Are you working in the haulage sector? Would you like to share your story like Brendan? If so, contact Kevin with a short bio at firstname.lastname@example.org.