ORIGINALLY from Liverpool in the UK, Pete Rawlinson spent more than 15 years living in the U.S before settling in Cork close to his wife’s family.
“I was living in New York for 11 years, in Manhattan, right in the heart of things, and then in Connecticut for another five years.”
Pete and his wife Fiona, who met in a bar in Liverpool and have been together more than 10 years, moved over with their now six-year-old daughter Saoirse, to be surrounded by their family network here in Cork.
Originally a student of physics in Sheffield University, Pete worked with nuclear reactors in the UK before getting into computers and technology and shifting his career to tech marketing.
A self-confessed “tech geek”, Pete said he keeps up his interest in physics and science with books on physics and watching the skies at night through his telescope.
Since moving to Ireland, he took up work with a relatively new Cork company Workvivo which builds and maintains social network platforms within workplaces such as UCC, Woodies, Irish Rail and Bus Éireann.
Pete said that since lockdown they have seen a massive spike in demand for their services, with colleagues looking to connect and check-in with each other.
Since moving to Cork, Pete completed an evening course in cyberpsychology, which he said he found fascinating.
“I did it to better understand minds and nefarious minds, to learn what was going through people’s heads, it was very good.”
Another passion of Pete’s is acting, which he has been dabbling in since he was 25.
“When I was living in New York, I went to acting classes a couple of times a week.”
Pete said he hasn’t done much acting since he moved to Cork, but he has completed a few classes and hopes to do some theatre when possible.
Chatting about lockdown, he said it had been fairly hectic working full time from home, alongside his wife with their six-year-old, but thankfully they have managed just fine.
Discussing the move from the States to Cork, Pete said it was the best thing they could have done.
“Initially, I was worried coming over, would I be accepted here, but the people are so friendly and welcoming.
“I’ve been really impressed by the way I’ve been able to integrate into the community easily. That wasn’t always the case in the U.S.”
Pete said he has gotten used to getting saluted by people on the street and greeting strangers out and about.
“At the start I thought it was a bit unusual, but I love it now!”
In terms of Cork’s attributes, Pete had plenty to say.
“Cork has a great combination of a modest city on a river (well, maybe two!) and being close to the countryside, which I like. I’m a techy and Cork is such an exciting place for new tech companies.”
In terms of the weather, Pete said he was not the biggest fan of the Irish climate, but that all you can do is get on with it.
“I’d love the weather to be a bit better — I’ve had to go collecting parts of my garden furniture a few times — but I genuinely can’t think of anything I dislike about it.
“Moving from the U.S to Cork was the best thing we could have done. Cork is a very pleasant place to live, it is very nice to be settled here.”
The former nuclear physicist said that it was also refreshing to be away from U.S politics.
“The place is spiralling down, it is a shame to see it go that way. We do miss the friends we made in the U.S. Fifteen years is a long time to make some really close friends, and having no family over there, friends were really important.
“I’m now a lot closer to my family in the UK, so it’s all good. We try to get back to New York City when we can.”
Although it can be hard being away from long-term friends, Pete said Fiona and himself are very happy in Cork.
“We never say never, but right now we feel very settled. Our daughter is having a blast in school and Sadie the pug gets spoilt at the in-laws (aka ‘doggy day spa’). So right now, I couldn’t see us living anywhere else!”
One of his favourite things to do in Cork is to head to his local pub, O’Shea’s, and enjoy a nice pint of Guinness, something that hasn’t happened in a while due to lockdown, or the family often take a stroll around Ballincollig Regional Park with their dog and pick up some Nutella crepes.
Highlighting the Cork lingo, Pete said he is constantly learning new words and gets a great kick out of Cork slang.
“I say ‘like’ at the end of every sentence, like. I’m ‘allergic’ to putting towels in the ‘hot press’, something about my daughter being ‘the bulb’ of her mum… that one got me. I feel like I’m haunted! Coola boola!”