The bodies of a couple found in their Tipperary home had not been discovered for at least the past year, gardaí said.
It is understood that the remains may have been there for so long that dental records may be needed for official identification.
However, there was no immediate indication of foul play, sources said.
Locals told gardaí they believed the elderly man and woman, both in their 70s and from England, had moved away from Ireland during the pandemic.
The grim discovery was made shortly after 4pm on Monday when gardaí called the remote Cloneen property in south Tipperary.
Some locals told officers the couple had not been seen in the locality since 2020.
‘People had thought they had moved away from Ireland during the Covid pandemic but sadly that was not the case,’ a source said Independent.ie.
Concerns were raised by neighbors and friends who had not seen the couple for some time.
The alarm was raised yesterday when a resident wondered why there was no sign of activity at the house but cars belonging to the couple remained parked at the rear of the property.
Some members of the rural community believed that because the couple were English they may have returned to the UK during the pandemic or moved away for health reasons.
But more recently a resident wondered about the presence of cars behind the house.
They alerted a local county councilor for advice, and the councilor reportedly contacted gardaí, who gained access to the premises yesterday afternoon and discovered the couple’s bodies.
The house is on a road between the villages of Cloneen and Mullinahone in a scenic valley near Slievenamon Bog, not far from Tipperary’s border with Co Waterford.
The detached bungalow is one of the few on the road and the grass has grown long in the garden.
Locals said it could be more than 18 months since they were last seen, but said the pair were very private people.
“They would wave at you as they passed, but they kept to themselves and people didn’t want to interfere in their lives or their property,” one man said.
Local sources said they heard the man may have worked in the shipping or cruise ship industry before retiring, but this has not been confirmed at this early stage.
The couple are said to have lived in the house for about 10 years.
Gardaí gained access to Cloneen’s property, located on the Fethard-Mullinahone road, and discovered the bodies inside.
Gardaí cordoned off the scene and notified the state pathologist’s office. Both bodies will remain in situ until an examination of the scene is completed by the state pathologist.
They will then be transferred to Waterford University Hospital for a full post-mortem examination.
Experts from the Garda Technical Office will also carry out an examination of the scene.
A Garda source said there was no initial indication that foul play was involved in the deaths.
There were no signs of disorder in the house and there were no signs of a break-in.
“This is a very early stage of the investigation and we are keeping an open mind. The results of the autopsy will determine precisely what we are dealing with,” the source said.
Although Gardaí said there were no indications of suspicious circumstances, they are not ruling anything out at this stage.
Detectives are also investigating whether the deaths may have been due to a tragic accident or a medical cause.
The condition of the bodies was such that laboratory testing may be required to determine the specific cause of death.
One of the couples is said to have a history of health issues.
Gardaí calls to speak with neighbors and friends to try to determine the last known sighting or contact someone on site with the couple.
Clonmel gardaí is leading the investigation and has called on anyone with information about the couple’s last known movements to contact them.