The long grass outside the well-kept bungalow on a remote rural road was the only clue from the outside that it had not seen life for quite some time.
More than 18 months ago the couple who lived there, named locally as Nick and Hilary Smith, had told their neighbours in south Tipperary they were moving.
The English natives had moved there around nine years ago and, from the outset, had kept to themselves.
The couple would give a polite wave as neighbours drove by, and some locals had learned from rare but polite casual conversations that the elderly man had apparently worked in shipping before he retired.
It is believed they did not have any children – none that the neighbours knew of anyway.
The house, with a sun room built on to the side of it, was neat and well maintained apart from the overgrown grass. And it was spacious too, a perfect home for a retired couple.
Behind the house, a field of hay has been cut and baled into large round spools that are still on the land waiting to be picked up and barn-stored, and in the distance the picturesque view of the valley and forest is idyllic.
Covid-19 was rampant when the couple were last seen, and because they had told locals they would be moving, there was an assumption that the Smiths had gone back to the UK, possibly to wider family where lockdowns might be more bearable.
There was also word that Ms Smith’s health was not great, and that they might have moved to a warmer climate as a result.
Nobody knew for sure, but the common belief was that they had left as quietly as they had arrived.
Pandemic restrictions would have meant there was no possibility of knocking around to neighbouring houses to say goodbye, but the couple were so quiet that it is likely it would not have been in their nature to do so anyway.
They liked their privacy and the local community respected that.
But this week a local became uneasy. They had not seen anybody at the house. No visitors, no family, no estate agent or surveyor, and yet there was still a car parked at the rear of the property, and so they contacted a local councillor, Mark Fitzgerald.
As well as being a local councillor, Mr Fitzgerald also runs the Thatch Pub in the nearest village, Cloneen. You might expect that a councillor and publican in a small, quiet village in rural Ireland would know everybody, but he had never met the couple who lived in the house.
He decided the best thing to do would be to contact the gardaí and ask if they might do a welfare check on the property.
When people have concerns about a neighbour it is probably the best path to take, and gardaí have better training and experience when it comes to such situations. And that is how the bodies of the Smiths were found at around 4pm on Monday.
There is now a sense of sadness and disbelief that a couple could have remained dead inside a house for so long without anybody noticing, but several factors have made that an unwelcome reality. It was almost a perfect storm of circumstances that would unfold into a sad tragedy.
There was the fact the Smiths had come from outside the area, that they were very private people who did not socialise, and that they had told people they were moving.
Then Covid came into play, where society was requested to keep its distance from each other, fracturing social contact and the normal interactions of life.
Gardaí have now begun the difficult task of trying to formally identify the couple, and hopefully find relatives somewhere so they can be laid to rest.
Post mortems and forensic tests will eventually help shed light on what happened and whether they died together at the same time, or if it was some time apart.
But for the village of Cloneen and the surrounding townlands in Tipperary, not far from the borders of Kilkenny to the east and Waterford to the south, it will take some time to take in the sadness of the events that occurred in the neat bungalow on the winding country road that they were sure was vacant.