Things began to lookup when travel across county boundaries was opened up for business meetings. This enabled estate agents to arrange viewings, subject to strict time constraints and booking arrangements. We still did all the on-line research, but we could now look (but not touch). Another factor was that by this stage, Pauline was finding that it was viable to work from home during the pandemic. It was also looking increasingly likely that her new employer would not be returning to full time office working once the pandemic was over. Given that this meant that remaining in Glenavy might now be feasible, Pauline tempered Michael’s enthusiasm for a move with a need to see a strong confirmation that a move was the right thing to do.

When planning the Round 3 trip, we had considered looking at a house in Geashill. It had come up on our internet search sites as ticking the boxes in terms of accommodation, although it was at the top of our budget. We always began our internet evaluation by looking at the location. First impressions from Google Street View were not encouraging…

We also thought that this house was too far from Dublin for Pauline’s commute. So, we removed the Geashill house from the list of houses we hoped to view.

We began our third trip with a ‘drive-by’ viewing of the house at the South-East end of the Round 2 search area. It turned out to be the right sort of house but in the wrong place, for us. Athy looked to be a nice enough town, but it did not seem to be right for us. Perhaps it was because of the travel time back to the North to visit Pauline’s mother.

We turned back North and went to view a house in Rathangan. This was not the house we had done a thorough virtual viewing of in Round 2, as it had been taken off the market. We were very excited by this viewing. The property ticked all the boxes for us and the location was very good. It was in a rural setting, but close to Rathangan, which is a lovely small town. It also has good rail links to Dublin and good road links to just about anywhere in Ireland, an important factor for Pauline’s work. It was so nice that several offers were made on the house on the day of our viewing. Although we expressed our serious interest, the agent made it clear that he would only be considering offers from cash buyers or those with sale agreed. At this stage, having had our Glenavy house on the market for eight months, we only had bargain hunters and tyre-kickers to show any interest in the house. However, during the viewing, we found that the agent’s son was friendly with the son of one of Pauline’s cousins who lives in Kildare.

With such family links in mind, we went West from Rathangan, for a drive-by viewing of a house at Cushina. This was another case of the right house in the wrong place, for us, but the place certainly caught Pauline’s attention because it turned out to be very close to the Moanvane area, where Pauline’s father’s family has strong links to this day.

We drove back to Glenavy encouraged to know that suitable houses were available in Co Offaly. We were also intrigued to see that family links might be the key to finding the right house. We decided to do further research on the house in Geashill, shown by the blue pin in the top left corner of this map.

We had made this trip on the 19th September, knowing that we had declined an initial offer on our Glenavy home that was significantly below the asking price. Now it seemed that we just needed to sell our Glenavy house for the plan to come together.