Today is a day of change in Ireland, and voters are coming out in their droves nationwide to cast their ballots. Over 3.2 million people are entitled to make their voices heard today.
Ireland is actually the first country in the world where people are giving the chance to vote on the legalisation of gay marriage.
Polling stations opened at 7am this morning and will close at 10pm tonight. There were reports of voters queuing up at some locations before opening time.
Many stations across the country have reported a larger than usual (for referendums) turnout. Across Dublin, Cork, and Galway, percentages as high as 40pc were reported by 5:30pm.
Across Cork city, the figure reportedly hit 50pc, while rural areas of Cork, Clare, Waterford, and Kerry, reported a slower turnout of around 30pc.
Further north, across Mayo and Donegal, the estimates also hit 30pc, while Leitrim and Louth are said to have reached 40pc.
And as the evening progresses and people finish work, a last minute rush is expected nationwide. If this prediction proves correct, this referendum might bear witness to the largest turnout since 1972, when a referendum was held on whether or not to join the EEC. Turnout that day was 70.6pc, the highest on any Irish referendum so far.
This is a hotly contested issue, and the results are far from clear at this point. Support for the “Yes” side slumped badly over the last couple of weeks, perhaps pushed down by a couple of lackluster TV debates, while the “No” voters saw a substantial boost from certain sectors of society which had remained silent or undecided up to that point.
The “Yes” camp had hoped for an early morning boost as students went to college and other institutions, while the “No” side will probably see a late evening rush.
With two hours to go, hundreds of thousands of votes still hang in the balance. The ballot boxes will be sealed and securely stored for the night before counting gets underway tomorrow morning at 9am.
Post-referendum Ireland remains a nowhere place at this time, but when sun rises at dawn in the new day, the country may be a very different place to what it is today.