The sands of time

29 Sep , 2020  

The large demand for road and building construction aggregates in Ireland supports a thriving quarrying industry. Aggregates are one of the world’s great natural resources and Ireland is rich in its reserves of aggregates.

First used by settlers and farmers to fence their lands 5,000 years ago, stone and aggregate is as essential to our economic success and development as any other natural resource such as oil, water and food.

Our roads and motorways, homes, schools, hospitals, colleges, factories, water and sewerage systems are all built from concrete, 80% by weight of which is aggregate.

Today crushed rock and sand and gravel are exploited from in excess of 400 sites across Ireland. One of those can found at Ballyshannon, Co Donegal where Mac Sand Ltd operate out of.

This family run business is dedicated to providing their customers with the very best quarry products on the market. Their primary objective is to ensure they are the first port of call when it comes to all your aggregate needs.

Mac Sand Ltd provide a wide variety of high quality aggregates for use in both commercial and residential construction and landscaping applications.

“We are established over 60 years now and the company is still in the McNulty Family name. We are based in Cashelard, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal,” said company MD Edward McNulty.

The Donegal based company  supply all types of Aggregates from: Plastering sand, Concrete sand, Pipe bedding 6-10mm, Limestone 804 (1.25inch down to fine grit), Clean stone 1.5 inch, Clean stone 1.5-2.5 inch, Clean stone 3-4 inch, Clean stone 4-6 inch (suitable for foundations and drainage), Crusher run 3-6 inch (for building and road foundations), Quarry rock (fill for roads), Road grit 4-6mm, Coloured decorative stone 14mm, 20mm, 30mm.

The company’s reputation has been forged through hard work, dedication to their customers and delivering quality products to an ever-increasing customer base. Mac Sand Ltd provides all grades of sand to a host of satisfied customers along the north west and beyond.

“The majority of our customer base would be other quarries in the area who use the sand to manufacture concrete. A lot of our customers would be located across the border in Northern Ireland.”

Having so many customers located in the north means that the looming threat of Brexit is a concern for Edward and the team at Mac Sand Ltd. Business has been good in the last number of years as a number of motorway contracts have been a major part of the business, although Edward stressed that the building industry in Donegal was at an all time low.

“Of course it is a concern as no one really knows what the outcome will be, but you just have to get on with things the best you can. The building trade in Donegal is zero at the moment, asides from a few road projects going on, there is not much else happening.”

Edward stated that they are kept going though and their products go through a variety of tests and regulations before the are delivered to the end-user.

“We have full factory-control procedures in place for our materials, which means full traceability. We were prepared for the new building regulations before they came into place a few years back,” added Edward.

“The NSAI audit us on an annual basis. We have invested heavily to reach their standards, but we are there now and even though there is a lot more paperwork to be done, it has certainly benefitted us as a business. The likes of our weighbridge would be calibrated every year and we have all the necessary certifications to carry out our work to a very high standard.”

To ensure that the customer get their products delivered on time, they run their own fleet of two trucks and the drivers operating them are very experienced and have a good rapport with all customers.

“If needs be, we will bring in outside hauliers to help us out, there are a number of contractors in the area that we would use regularly.”

No order is too big or too small. “We supply everybody,” Edward confirms. “From the large contractor to the private individual, every customer is important. All the small quantities add up.

All the staff are well trained and regularly meet to discuss developments in the sector.

Long gone are the days when Edward’s grandfather Eddie used a pick and shovel to load trailers by hand as Mac Sand Ltd use only state of the art machinery now.

“My grandfather started off by supplying local farmers with trailer loads of sand and gravel, then he started supplying the council and the business grew from there. My father Eamonn took over from him and brought the business forward and now I am doing the same or at least I’m trying to,” he laughed.

Mac Sand Ltd employ five full time staff, many of who have been with the company a number of years now. “There would be lads here years and they are very experienced at what they do. The work is not near as physical as it use to be as there is machinery to do it all now. We do our own maintenance and keep the machinery in good condition, while we upgrade when we have too.”

Contact Details:

Mac Sand Ltd



Co. Donegal

Tel: (+353) 071 9858550

Mob: (+353) 086 2368472 

Mob: (+353) 086 3242701

Email: [email protected]

This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, February/March 2020, Vol 6 No 1