Cognitive Science Engineer at Aflac Northern Ireland | Tech Events Organiser
One-On-One with Chloe
Could you tell us a bit more about yourself, your job and how long you’ve lived in County Armagh?
I have recently graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a Masters in Software and Electronic Systems Engineering. I’ve had a few roles in IT while I was studying and have just started full-time as a Cognitive Science Engineer. I’ve always loved getting involved in the tech community, ranging from Meetups and Hackathons for Artificial Intelligence NI (AI NI for short), smaller events for Queen’s Computing Society and the SISTEM conference. I’ve lived in County Armagh all my life – although as a teenager I loathed being in the middle of nowhere!
What attracted you to living and working in Armagh ?
Most of my academic and working life has always been based in Belfast, but I now work remote from Armagh. It’s an easy 30 minute commute for a few days in the office which is great as well. I love the fact that the countryside is right at my front door and there are some lovely parks, towpaths, forest parks and lakes in the area as well.
Can you walk us through a day in the life of living in Co. Armagh ?
I normally start my day by either reading or exercising before getting ready for work, which is a very easy commute at home. I always start my work by sorting through any emails and planning my to do’s with a cup of tea before any calls. Lunch time for me is a time to sit in the garden if the weather is nice and get a few chores done. In the evenings I try to get out and about, either to my local park or just a quick 3 mile walk through the village I live in, both of which have some lovely views. At the weekends I’m most likely out exploring, walking or getting coffee at local places in all different counties.
How would you describe transport within Armagh ? Is it easy to get around ?
Our transport links are quite good with regular bus routes from Belfast into the main towns and a few train line stops as well. The further out of those towns you go the less frequent a bus becomes, for me it would be once an hour. Personally, I drive everywhere and you’re never too far from both of the main routes that can take you to Belfast, Dublin or West to Enniskillen. Just pray you don’t get stuck behind a tractor!
How fast/reliable is your home internet connection ?
The internet here is similar to most of the areas outside of Belfast and is fairly reliable. I would have been averaging around 30mbps down and 10mbps up but since adding extra BT disks we now have 40mbps down – not a huge jump but we’ll take what we can get! The speed is completely fine and stable given a few people working from home on calls as well.
Can you tell us about some of your favourite locations or attractions within Armagh ?
Gosford Forest Park in Markethill is one of my favourite places for a peaceful Sunday walk. It has some beautiful trails and even some red deer that are there all year round. I have been lucky enough to see them in the snow in winter which is great for some Christmas spirit! During the summer months with the warm evenings, Oxford Island is another favourite location of mine to sit by the lakes on the jetties. As a child I used to love heading to the Armagh Planetarium as I always found space fascinating and who knows maybe that’s what sparked my interest in STEM.
What advice do you have for individuals or families interested in relocating to Armagh ?
Of course, my opinion will be quite biased as I am fond of where I live but I would say that it is a great place. If you need to commute for work, you have two main routes into Belfast (albeit a busy drive during rush hours) and good train and bus links from the main towns. There are plenty of shops in the area with both The Boulevard and Rushmere Shopping Centre, as well as local businesses and smaller boutiques. You don’t have to go too far to find a good coffee shop either which is a great perk for a coffee addict like myself! The ability to be in the countryside is a big bonus and the county is packed with beautiful views and lots of nature. Overall, it’s a great place to be and I would say quite good for families that want more space and freedom for their kids to run around.
Thank you very much Chloe for taking the time to talk with us and thank you for representing Co. Armagh as a Rural Ireland Tech Advocate.