Community Manager | Chair, NI Game Dev Network
One-On-One with Caolan
Could you tell us a bit more about yourself, your job and how long you’ve lived in County Antrim?
Hey! I’m a community manager with a life-long passion for computing and technology. I’m deeply passionate about indie games and the people who make and play them. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been working hard building the NI Game Dev Network – the community for everyone interested in making games in Northern Ireland.
I’m also a trustee of the NI Raspberry Jam, where I’ve helped deliver 200+ hours of workshops to over 2100 young people across my 5 years as a STEM educator. I’ve lived in County Antrim all my life, originally living near the North Coast but moving to Belfast last summer.
What attracted you to living and working in Antrim ?
I moved to Belfast last year for university, but I have no intention of leaving here soon! I live in the city centre so I’m right in the heart of the tech and game dev communities – no more half hour commutes! I travel back up North fairly regularly, so whether it’s walks along the Lagan or around the Giant’s Causeway, I really love the scenery.
Can you walk us through a day in the life of living in Antrim ?
Now that I’m working from home most days, I’m under less pressure to get up super early to commute. I start most of my days getting some fresh air with a cycle or a walk – I find that if I start off my day by getting up and being active, my mood is far better and I’m more productive. Depending on my mood, I’ll sometimes pick up a coffee on the way back home, before sitting down and sorting through my emails and checking out my calendar for the day, before getting stuck into work.
Now that COVID restrictions have eased up a bit, I’ve been working more from cafes and from my local hackerspace, Farset Labs. https://www.farsetlabs.org.uk/, https://twitter.com/FarsetLabs
How would you describe transport within Antrim ? Is it easy to get around ?
Getting around Belfast is pretty easy – these days I mostly use the public Belfast Bikes (https://www.belfastbikes.co.uk/en/belfast/) which are suuuuper easy to use, but there’s also the Metro and Glider services for travelling further afield. When I’m travelling back up North, I typically travel via Train.
Whilst Belfast is easy to get around, outside the city is another story. I rely on my car pretty much exclusively when I’m staying with family, as the rural bus connections are expensive and only run every few hours.
How fast/reliable is your home internet connection ?
Honestly, this is one of the biggest positives about moving to the city. Back at my old home, we could only ever get an unreliable <10mbps connection despite paying for a Fibre connection. These days, I’ve got a solid 200mbps. I know work is ongoing to roll out Project Stratum and Hyperfast Broadband which should improve rural broadband in NI, but it is a little disappointing that I had to relocate to get a decent connection.
Can you tell us about some of your favourite locations or attractions within Antrim ?
The Glens of Antrim, Giants Causeway, Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, the Dark Hedges, Glenariff Forest Park, Ballintoy Harbour… there’s far too many to name. Get in a car and visit everything on the Causeway Coastal Route – you won’t regret it! If I had to pick a favourite though, I’d say watching the sun set over Kinbane Castle probably tops that list.
What advice do you have for individuals or families interested in relocating to Antrim ?
Make the most of it! This is a beautiful part of the world, so try and see as much of it as you can! 🙂
Thank you very much Caolan for taking the time to talk with us and thank you for representing Co. Antrim as a Rural Ireland Tech Advocate.