What appealed to both of you about driving trucks?
Peter: My father was a truck driver and he worked at Bulmers and I was always on the road with him and that’s where I picked it up. I never wanted to go to school, I always knew I wanted to be on the road and driving trucks. My father brought me off every time he could and I would get the odd spin off of him and it just progressed from there. I got a chance then to drive trucks through Ciaran Molloy here with Ronans of Castleblake and I was there about ten years, when they closed down Ciaran took over the work and their lorries and he brought me along with him. I am here with Molloy ever since. I was bit by the bug early, I was about 15 when I got my first spin in a truck! I was hooked from then.
PJ: As a child I always wanted to be in trucks and my father worked with a lad around that time and instead of going to school any chance I got I would want to go off in the truck! It was just always something I wanted to do. So I started washing the trucks and trailers in Ronans while I was still in school and that’s where I learned to drive the trucks - I was actually able to drive a truck before I could drive a car! Similar to Peter the bug just started early with me and the appeal of being up high and having great vision really appealed to me as a child.
It seems to be a common theme among truckers that they are taken to the life early on…
PJ: It’s the freedom of it. You are out on the road every day and wanting that is either in you or it is not. Anyone can drive a truck but the trucking life is not for everybody.
Peter: It just has to be there
Why do you think that the life is not for everyone?
PJ: You need to like your own company. You are on your own, you could be away from home four or five nights a week. You have to take that side of things into consideration with your family life. Some people like being home every night and others like to stay out in the truck. It’s a certain way of life and you have to get used to it.
It’s been mentioned that the two of you are quite good friends. Is there a good sense of camaraderie here?
Peter: Oh God yea, even today when the other lads finish and come back we will give them a hand because we’re finished now. We will give them a hand to wash their trucks. We’ll all get stuck in and get it done and we’ll have a bit of craic.
PJ: Our local truck show is on now Saturday and Sunday, Tipperary truck show – Dualla. There will be 15 or 16 of us heading up to that all from Molloy Waste. We’ll have some good banter up there with the rest of our friends. We’re like passing ships at night and the shows are the only time that we really see them so we will go up there and have a bit of craic and a couple of drinks and a good catch up.
So do you both enjoy Truck Shows? Dualla is close to being the last one of the year, would you attend many of them?
PJ: Dualla is the last one of the year yes.
Peter: We would go to all the truck shows over the summer. We went to Waterford, Full of the Pipe, Borris-in-Ossory and now Dualla will be the last one.
PJ: We would do a couple of charity truck runs in between all the shows also of a Saturday or a Sunday.
So these shows and charity runs take up your free time?
PJ: Well this is it. It’s part of the life. Chris here and the company are very good at allowing us to attend the charity events. There is never any problem with us taking the trucks for a charity run. Our trucks are available to us to go and there is no issue whatsoever.
Peter: The company are very good in that way as there is diesel costs and mileage being added to the truck but it is never an issue.
So any favourite memories from being on the road or at the truck shows that you would like to share?
Peter: Oh God there’d be loads.
PJ: Yes, loads but not many of them would be safe for tape! Just if there was ever a trucker stuck in trouble you would always stop and give them a hand and vice versa. If you were parked up and just happened to have a flat battery, or you were looking for an airline to pump a weight there would always be someone willing to give you a dig out.
And is that community out there among truckers today?
Peter: It would be yes. No one would ever see you stuck on the road. If you were parked up at night and had trouble with a battery the next morning, someone would have a set a jump leads and you would always get going. Sure it happened to the pair of us one morning here in the yard where PJ’s truck wouldn’t start. I just popped over with the jump leads and we got him sorted. That’s the way it is, we would all help each other out whether it’s in the yard or out on the road.
PJ: Yes you would never see anyone stuck. If someone had a breakdown you would go up and swap trailers and get their load to where it needed to go. We call ourselves a little family here and we look out for each other. Our motto here is the work is mad but the social life is a killer! Most of us here socialize together but the work is always done.
Is there anything from the older trucks or the new trucks that stand out as some of your favourite features?
Peter: It would have to be the fridge in them. A great job!
PJ: Night heaters, air-conditioning, even the technology alone these days is amazing. The truck basically drives itself and all you have to do is steer.
Peter: Versus ten or fifteen year ago the comfort in them is second to none. The size and space, you can get up and walk around in the cabs now. The layout of the cabs mean less bending over and reaching for things. The compartments overhead and then below the bunk are great. There’s great space there for storage and all that stuff.
PJ: Even horsepower’s on the trucks are up compared to what they were years ago. Like Peter said they are just a much more comfortable truck these days. Even being out for three or four nights in the cab the comfort is unreal. You know that you can get a comfortable night’s sleep. Cabs don’t bounce as much on the road, the trucks nearly glide along on the road nowadays.
If you were both to offer any advice to someone considering a career in trucking what would it be?
Peter: If someone had their heart set on it then all you could do was show them the ropes as best you could. Put them right in everything you could and that would be about it.
PJ: Every day is a school day and you are always learning something.
Peter: You don’t just learn it all over night. We are still learning. We learn new things every day and are doing different things every day. It would be the same for anyone starting out.
PJ: It isn’t just a case of sitting into the truck, putting it in to gear and driving away. You have to make them aware of dangers that are out there. You are driving a machine that’s grossing over forty tonne! You won’t stop that on a tuppence the same way you would a car! That has to be taken into consideration because at the end of the day it could turn into a wrecking machine. All you can do is advise them.
Peter: Don’t get too cocky or brave either. You’ve got to be cautious behind the wheel.
You both mentioned that you attend a lot of the shows. What kind of prep goes into attending them?
Peter: It hasn’t been too bad today because I finished early yesterday and done a good bit of cleaning then. But you would be talking probably a day and a half to prep the truck for the show if you finished early and had the whole of the next day, you would be ready to go for a Saturday.
PJ: It is what we do though, it is our hobby. Some people enjoy going out and playing golf. Summertime as we call it is the silly season with truck show season. But that’s our hobby that’s what we like to do. It’s nice to show off our trucks and the pride we have in them.
Peter: The kids can be fascinated by the big trucks too at the shows. I had a fella ask me the other day if it was ok to bring his young lad up and have him sit into the truck at the show. I said it would be no problem at all. That gets the younger generation interested in the industry too so it is great.