Irene McAleese

Where did you grow up/study in Australia?
I grew up mostly in Brisbane and studied at Griffith University.

Where are some of the interesting places you have lived around the world?
I lived in London for almost 7 years, and London was very good to me. Not only did I meet my husband there, but I had two very good jobs where I learnt a lot and met some interesting people. I then lived in Singapore for two years which again was a fantastic experience. I will always miss the food in Singapore in particular.

Where are you currently living?
I'm currently living in Northern Ireland. We're about half an hour outside Belfast and we are really enjoying it here. My husband's family are from here so our children are getting the benefit of a big extended family here. We love the fresh air, clean water and the charm and friendliness of the people too - the sense of humour and warmth reminds me of Australians in some ways.

What do you do?
Together with my husband, we have founded the cycling technology start-up company, See Sense. We've developed an innovative, intelligent cycling light that can sense the environment and react, so that the cyclist is especially visible when they need to be. It's incredibly exciting to start your own business - definitely hard work but we are passionate about it so it doesn't always feel like work!

What's a hidden secret of your city?
The Comber Greenway - they took an old disused railway line and converted it into a cycle/walking path, about 7 miles long. It takes you from Comber, a town close to us, all the way into Belfast. It passes some beautiful scenery along the way and has been listed by some as one of the best cycle paths in the UK. 

What's your favorite cafe/bar/restaurant in your current city?
We like Home Restaurant in Belfast.

Describe your adopted hometown/current city in three words.
Fun, complex and beautiful.

What do you miss most about Australia when you are overseas?
In general, I would say that I miss the Aussie straight-forwardness as well as the relaxed friendliness. And of course, my family and friends.

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