SRE Pipeline Architect at Cisco
One-On-One with Jon-Paul
I’ve lived in Clare for 18 years, in 3 different locations in Ennis. Over this time I’ve only had 2 jobs, first with Compaq, who became HP, and then HPE, and then for Cisco. When I started I was working 5 days in the office and my commute was nearly an hour. Pre-covid I was working 2-3 days in the office, and the commute was down to 35 minutes. The transition to 5 days a week at home was seamless too, and may last post-covid.
What attracted you to living and working in Clare ?
Ennis is in a great location with Galway, Shannon and Limerick all within commuting distance. It also has fantastic internet connectivity meaning you don’t have to commute to work. It was a great choice when the work commutes were split between Limerick and Galway!
Can you walk us through a day in the life of living in Clare ?
During the week the day starts with getting the kids on their bikes to get to school. After that it’s all about doing a days work. I try to break up my day by exercising and that often involves going for a bike ride around lunch. Evenings are mostly taxi duty for the kids, with hurling, football, soccer and rugby training, or dancing and music lessons on. Otherwise it might be a game of squash in the local squash club. Weekends wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the beach at Lahinch whenever the rain holds off. It might also involve going mountain biking locally (or out to Ballyhoura in Limerick occasionally)! Clare is also great for eating out, and for food. The Burren smokehouse for smoked foods like salmon or trout, Magic Mayan chocolate, Anam coffee all being based in Clare, as well as JJ Corry whiskey bonders and Western Herd brewery. There is a farmers market on a Friday morning where I would look for ingredients to cook something nice Friday and Saturday, leaving Sunday as a roast or bbq, depending on the weather, having a good butchers open on a Sunday really helps make the impromptu bbq’s possible!
How would you describe transport within Clare ? Is it easy to get around ?
Ennis is small enough that walking or cycling will get you anywhere you need to go within the town. It’s also likely only 5 minutes to get you out of the town and into the countryside. There are buses to get around the county, and Bus Éireann have major routes that stop in Ennis for getting to Galway and Limerick. With Shannon so close the air links are there too! Pre-covid there was also a green bus that meant you could have a night out in Limerick and still get back to Ennis.
How fast/reliable is your home internet connection ?
I’m lucky in that I have Siro fibre to the house, and so have 1Gb/200Mb. Means my mobile speed test is limited by the WiFi speed! I also get good mobile coverage, so if I need it because of an outage, the phone can provide good cover.
Can you tell us about some of your favourite locations or attractions within Clare ?
The Cliffs of Moher are an impressive sight and a good visit. They are just up the road from Lahinch where there is a great beach and good surfing. There are many more good beaches too, with Spanish Point, Fanore, Carrigaholt, Kilkee and Kilrush in Clare. For those that like the countryside you can visit the Burren and the Poulnabrone Dolmen, finishing up in the Burren Smokehouse for some great smoked Salmon, and if you like food, a night away at the Wild Honey Inn is a must. Ailwee Cave is another good location to visit, and they do a good Santa’s grotto there for the kids! Heading South from Ennis will get you to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, where you can try the medieval banquet. And how can I not mention that Father Ted‘s house is in Clare! 😉
What advice do you have for individuals or families interested in relocating to Clare ?
I would recommend it. I haven’t found any downsides to it. The size of the town is great and it feels very friendly. There is a lot around the county to entertain adults and kids alike. I do think as you start to travel west from Ennis you will find it becomes less accessible, but not impossibly so.
Thank you very much JP for taking the time to talk with us and thank you for representing Co. Clare as a Rural Ireland Tech Advocate.