TWO grandparents who were left heartbroken after their four adult children emigrated to Australia will soon join them permanently after selling the family home.
Janet and Eugene Bennis, who are in their 50s, said they have endured years of heartache living thousands of miles from their four children.
And Janet said that missing out on watching her four young grandchildren - the youngest of whom is four-months-old - grow up has been particularly heart-wrenching.
But today, the doting mum and dad have a massive reason to celebrate after reaching "sale agreed" on their four-bedroom home near Limerick city centre, which means their dream of buying a one-way ticket to Brisbane is finally about to become a reality.
The final hurdle facing the couple is to secure two permanent residency visas, but yesterday Janet (53) said they would be in a position to make the big move by February at the latest.
The couple's children - Jennifer (30) who's a mother-of-two, father-of-two Eoin (28), Claire (25) and Cian (24) - are already planning a huge welcome party in Brisbane, where they all live.
And although the couple will not have much spare cash once they have cleared their mortgage following the sale of the home they lived in for 28 years, they will not have to pay any rent once they move to Oz, as they'll be moving in with Eoin and Claire and their respective partners.
Janet, who will soon be packing in her job as a catering supervisor at the University of Limerick, said she is confident of finding work after she emigrates.
She has already received a couple of job offers from Australian employers, even though she has yet to set foot in the country.
She said: "There's really no turning back now. A deposit's been paid on the house and it's gone to sale agreed and that's moved us a massive step closer to the airport.
"I must admit there's a few mixed emotions because we've so many happy memories of our family home, but once we move there's definitely no coming back.
"We've dreamed about moving over to live out the rest of our days with our family for so long and now I can finally start to believe it's really going to happen.
"We've missed out on so many birthdays and family occasions, but not any more.
"The alternative would have been to stay here, being miserable.
"I know a lot of other parents in Ireland can relate to how we have felt, having seen their kids emigrate.
"I know that not everyone can do what we're about to do, but I want to say to other parents who are in the same boat that they can do exactly the same thing if, like us, they want it badly enough."