Canada, here we come!
Wide open spaces, lifestyle, proper seasons and greater opportunities in Canada are increasingly tempting Irish families like the Walshs from Cobh, Co Cork, who need to sell up lock, stock and barrel in order to embrace their North American dream, writes Yvonne Hogan
When Moira and John Walsh bought their house in 2003, their intention was to set down roots for life. But a few years later wanderlust took hold and they decided to apply for visas to live in Canada.
"We spent so much time in North America it made sense" says Moira. "We were always over there on holidays so we thought, why don't we relocate there?"
As John is an electrician -- he works with the Irish Navy -- the family was granted permanent visas and is looking forward to moving there in July.
"We have always wanted to move to Canada as we love the lifestyle, the open spaces, the fact that they have proper seasons and greater opportunities for our daughter.
"Both my husband and I are in our late 30s with an ambition to travel. Up to this point we have both worked full-time and this move will allow us to take time out and value our family life together. We will have to work over in Canada too but there will be more emphasis on 'work to live' as opposed to 'live to work'.
"We decided to go in July because Caoimhe will be 11 in October and we would like her to have a month there before she starts school.
"Also, because she will have to speak French in school, we want her to do courses to bring her up to speed. In primary school they don't speak French, so I want to give her a month to settle."
But first, there is the small matter of selling their house, which was built in 2002. Is this a deal-breaker?
"I think if we don't sell the house and go lock, stock and barrel, we will always have a crutch back here. If it doesn't work, so be it, we will have to come home and start again, but I think it is better to have a clean break."
The couple paid €230,000 for Coolinarrig -- the house is named after the Wicklow homestead of Moira's father -- and subsequently extended it by adding a conservatory and en suite to the four-bedroom detached bungalow.
Further accommodation includes an entrance hall, sitting room, kitchen/dining room, conservatory, utility room, four bedrooms (one used as an office and another is en suite) and a family bathroom. There is also a mature vegetable garden at the back of the house and tarmac to the front for low maintenance.
"When we include the price of the extension, what we have spent on the house comes to €310,000. We have reduced the asking price of the house from €365,000 to €315,000," says Moira. "We are not looking for a profit, we just want to move."
"It is a great family house," says Moira. "We are on a cul-de-sac, on a plot of our own, and very central to Cobh. Coolinarrig is on the western side, across from Cobh Ramblers, close to the town and the school. We are up on a height and we have the sea breezes coming in, which is great for the vegetables."
Included in the sale are the curtains, carpets, fixtures and fittings, all the integrated appliances (fridge freezer, dishwasher, oven hob and cooker), a second fridge and second freezer in the utility room, a microwave, washing machine and brand-new water filter system.
Also included is a fully-wired shed, a greenhouse and large compost bins. And, of course, the lovely vegetable garden. "We are seeding, so a full range of vegetables will be ready to grow," adds Moira.
For more information call English Auctioneers 021 4811494