Evan Smith

Site Reliability Engineer

County Cork

Co. Cork

One-On-One with Evan

Could you tell us a bit more about yourself, your job and how long you’ve lived in County Cork?

I was born in Cork and worked as a freelancer for about 7 years, which put me through school and college, before I moved to Dublin to be an SRE for 2 years, then to Berlin to be the lead SRE for a startup for another 2 years before deciding I missed my own lovely Lee and returning home. Now, I’m about to become an Engineering Team Manager for the Delivery Team at Squarespace in September and am absolutely buzzing for it. Outside of my professional past, I also run a remote lightning talk conference for the inexperienced and underrepresented called ShortStack, create cool things like pulling and modelling data from Daft.ie and speaking at conferences about kindness, communication and safety.

What attracted you to living and working in Cork ?

Maybe I’m biased having grown up here but after spending 4 years between Dublin and Germany, Cork felt more like home than anywhere. It’s beautiful, it has my family (and all our dogs), and it’s got a wonderful community but really I’ve moved back for the food 🤤 If you’re looking for recommendations, here ya go.

Can you walk us through a day in the life of living in Co. Cork ?

I’ll give ya my ideal sunny Saturday in the city. Wake up around 10 and potter into the city for breakfast and sit down to a gorgeous full irish before strolling over to the English Market to admire the beautiful market (and maybe make my bank account sad with artisan goods). From the market, the world’s your oyster for a couple hours to browse the shops or wander into Waterstones if you want to lose an afternoon.

When you start getting hungry again, it’s down to the waterfront either at Electric with their accompanying cocktails or for mexican food from Tequila Jacks on the Boardwalk. At this point, you’re going to be bursting at the seams so I’d go for a walk either around the iconic grounds of University College Cork (which is not Hogwarts, despite what your eyes will tell you) or through the gorgeous Fitzgerald’s Park with its overflowing rose bushes and trees as far as the eye can see – maybe even try The Shakey Bridge, if your nerves will hold 😜

In the evening, try Market Lane for the best in Irish contemporary cuisine or Orso for their “flavour-forward” seasonal grub. Both of them will place you in the heart of Cork’s nightlife. If you’re a nightclub person, it’s The Voodoo Rooms, for a pint with some pals, it’s An Bróg, and for a bitta live music, The Oliver Plunkett won’t do you any harm.

And all that’s just in the city! Crosshaven, Ballincollig, Carrigaline, Blarney and then you’ve got all of West Cork. How could you not want to live here?

How would you describe transport within Cork ? Is it easy to get around ?

If you’re lucky enough to live on the experimental 24-hour Ballincollig to Carrigaline route, you’re golden. Otherwise, the buses can be a bit hit or miss but the number of routes is quite good. There are talks about a tram line but haven’t broken ground yet. We’re still holding out for a People’s Republic Of Cork Metro Line.

How fast/reliable is your home internet connection ?

My connection at home is good, I get 1Gbps down and 100Mbps up very reliably. It’s managed by Nova Broadband who are a homegrown company that recently became part of the SIRO/FTTH scheme for gigabit connections.

Can you tell us about some of your favourite locations or attractions within Cork ?

For a full day out, I can’t recommend Blarney enough. It’s the stereotype of Irish but a gorgeous town in the countryside with plenty of history/sight-seeing activities for all the family. (tip: check out the Poison Garden at Blarney Castle)

If you’re looking for a nice sunny day activity, taking a trip to Crosshaven would be a good bet. Again, a lovely Irish town by the seaside with a little bit of a beach but a whole lot of water sports.

In the city, The English Market isn’t just good for doing a bit of treat-yourself food shopping, it’s also a very beautiful, old building with a cafe/restaurant on the second floor. If you’re a person who likes their food history, this will give you plenty to chew on.

I’m from Ballincollig so I think I’d be excommunicated if I weren’t to mention it. Ballincollig is a large town about 15-20 mins outside the city by bus/car with some lovely restaurants along Main Street, my favourite cinema and is home to the historic Gunpowder Mills. The Regional Park surrounds the mills and is a great place to walk about, grab a coffee and people/dog watch for a couple hours with a pal.

What advice do you have for individuals or families interested in relocating to Cork ?

If you care about your internet speed, definitely check out if gigabit is available in the area you want to move to.

If you want to get a bit of the social ambiance of an office while still being remote, check out the coworking spaces for a day or two a week: Republic of Work in the city or The Rubicon out by MTU.

If you’re a coffee snob, you will have to check out all of these: Three Fools Coffee, Cork Coffee Roasters and Soma. You’re going to have a favourite and it’s going to determine what friends you can make. I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules.

If you’re looking to settle down with your family but still be near the city, Ballincollig is the perfectly placed satellite town that will give ye a chance to get involved with a local community and schooling while still being only 20 mins away from the city centre.

If you’re a software engineer, check out the talks and events by CorkDev. It’s a great way to learn or present something and meet some new faces.

Moving to Cork is a no-brainer. Maybe it’s that Cork pride but it’s no longer a question of If but When.

Thank you very much Evan for taking the time to talk with us and thank you for representing Co. Cork as a Rural Ireland Tech Advocate.

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