I’m English, and for some time I’ve fancied the idea of living abroad, at least for a while.

I’ve been visiting Ireland since 2003 with my now fiancée (who’s Irish) and love many aspects of it, so when the perfect alignment of opportunity, disgruntlement and determination occurred, it was time to give it a whirl.  At the moment we’re not exactly settled in Ireland, but once the cottage we bought last year has been fully renovated, hopefully it’ll feel a bit more homely.

We chose the cottage following a gruelling holiday visiting dilapidated (hence affordable) properties in the middle of various flavours of nowhere.  We’d longlisted 49 properties in counties Clare, Cork, Galway, Kerry, Limerick and Waterford.  Of course it wasn’t practical to see very many of them, so we whittled them down to places that could be reached from where we were staying in Dingle.  Note that Dingle is an appalling base from which to perform such a task, as it’s on a peninsula miles from anywhere.  It is a nice holiday destination though, to be fair to it.

My spreadsheet columns for the properties covered the aspects of a place that we considered most important:

near the sea, acreage, state of house, price

We’d already filtered based on price, but were otherwise quite open-minded.  I made notes on the state of the house based on photos and site visits of some of them, which make for sobering reading now that we’re on the verge of moving into the one we chose.

Edited highlights from the “state of house” column:

“dire”, “poor (and very near ambush monument)”, “squalid”, “unfinished”, “smart”, “good”, “excellent”, “OK-ish”.

The place we bought matches one of the above, and it was… “squalid”.

Incidentally, the ambush monument in question relates to this event in 1920.  I know it’s not necessarily rational, but it didn’t feel like the ideal place to base ourselves.

To be continued…