Living Leeside: American Sarah loves the culture and scenery of Cork

Living Leeside: American Sarah loves the culture and scenery of Cork

Sarah Kandrot

FROM the USA to Ireland and from Cork city to Crosshaven, Sarah Kandrot has found her place in the world, working in her dream job with Green Rebel Marine, a company dedicated to supporting offshore energy with cutting edge geo data.

Sarah, originally from Pennsylvania, is the Head of Aerial Surveys with the company, which offers survey and consultation service to industry sectors with an interest in marine environment.

The academic completed a Masters in Coastal Zone Management and Geographic Information Systems and a PhD in Geography at University College Cork after falling in love with the rugged coastline and amazing wildlife that she discovered on a three month Erasmus to Galway during her undergraduate.

“I was in Galway as part of my undergraduate degree and I wanted to come back after finishing my course, but after some research I became interested in the work of Professor Robert Devoy and decided to study at UCC.”

Professor Devoy went on to be Sarah’s PhD supervisor and the pair also worked together on a volunteer project, co-editing an publication, The Coastal Atlas of Ireland. This is part of the atlas series from the Department of Geography at UCC and due to be published by Cork University Press in September.

The pair worked on the project alongside 100+ contributors and edited it with Valerie Cummins, Barry Brunt and Darius Bartlett.

Sarah said she has spent most of her free time over the past five years on this project, which she enjoyed putting together due to her love of the Irish landscape, environment and history.

In terms of up and moving to the little island out in the Atlantic from her landlocked home state of Pennsylvania, Sarah said her parents were not as shocked as you would think.

“I have always loved to travel and I am very independent, they were super supportive.”

Pre-pandemic, Sarah’s parents visited Cork once a year and just before Covid her younger brother was all set to make his first trip to Cork, until it was cancelled last minute due to the ongoing health crisis.

Sarah, who has recently moved from Cork city to the scenic coastal town of Crosshaven, has started to get into sea swimming, something she finds refreshing and good for stress.

“Normally I go in the summer for a quick dip, but with my friend this year, I started in April.”

Chatting about her time at UCC, Sarah said she loved the years she spent there.

“They were my family for so many years. Geography is a small department and we all know each other and everyone is very supportive.”

Sarah said her education from UCC helped to kickstart her career outside of academia.

“I was working at UCC, doing post-doctorial work when I was approached by Green Rebel Marine. I was excited by their mission and vision and I left my job to join them.”

Sarah described her new position as her “absolute dream job.”

“ I think it’s more like a vocation than a job. It means something to me to be able to help contribute to a more sustainable economy. My uncle used to say to me: ‘Love your job and never work a day in your life’.

“I always remember that.”

While many of Cork’s international citizens mention their love for Cork is despite the weather, Sarah said she doesn’t mind the perpetual drizzle.

“I hate snow, but that is not really a problem! The only thing about the wind and rain is bad weather means bad data, so its not great for work.”

Living in Crosshaven, Sarah said the scenic sunsets are something she will never tire of and she enjoys the pride people in Cork have for their county.

“I do miss things from home, like local pizzerias and diners, they are a unique cultural thing that you just don’t get here the same way. It’s what I grew up with and I think there is a great comfort in the things you enjoyed as a young child.”

Despite this, Sarah thinks she will stay in Cork, for the landscape, culture and her amazing job.

“Ireland feels more like home to me.”

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