Dublin up!
Truck & Driver|December 2020
The first of a three-part series, Paul heads from Ireland to Bologna, Italy with a left-hooker Volvo FH 540 and a collection of maps
PAUL O' CALLAGHAN

The foothills of the Dublin mountains, precariously close to the urban bustle emanating from the metropolis of the Irish Capital, is an unlikely place to find an international refrigerated transport operation. Nonetheless it is from here that Derek Lenehan runs a fleet of understated silver Volvos.

From the same scenic farmyard surrounded by stone walls and pine trees offering protection from prying eyes, his father Frank has for many years operated a Department of Agriculture-approved cattle lairage facility where cattle from Ireland are tested and approved before beginning their onward journey to the continent.

Given that Frank always had a cattle truck in the early years, it was a natural progression that Derek would choose livestock haulage as his career path. Having run two cattle trailers on long distance work in the 2000s, Derek identified a gap in the market after buying his first fridge trailer.

“Italy is a prime destination for Irish meat including beef, pork, lamb and horse meat, so we consolidate loads on behalf of a large number of clients. No trailer leaves here with empty pallet spaces” he explains.

Beginning with just one truck, the Dubliner is now up to 24 tractor units with the same number of trailers. “There were probably fewer trucks doing the same work in the old days. Most did a trip per week regardless of the amount of drops or collections. That day has passed however - we run 100% legal and will swop trailers to keep the goods moving while a driver takes his necessary rest breaks.

This is the only way to do it now”. Fans of left-hand drive trucks boast that they are nicer to drive, given that all were designed from day one in that format - the righthand drive is but a mere afterthought is the general quip among hardliners. While some may disagree, when I’m seeking a casual trip, the prospect of a left hooker is a major consideration of mine, strange as that may sound. Given that I also wanted to try out a Version 4 Volvo FH 540 plus the fact I also love Italy, Derek was the natural choice.

DAY 1

Friday is the day you’ll see continental fridge men milling about Ireland doing collections in preparation for shipping out late that night, preparing for deliveries across Europe beginning on Monday morning.

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