Turnout in Carlow-Kilkenny higher than a general election
The big turnout in Carlow-Kilkenny - higher than a general election - is expected to provide a boost for Sinn Féin and Renua in the by-election.
The corresponding same-sex marriage referendum means the number of voters is far higher than for a regular by-election.
Fianna Fail's Bobby Aylward was the favourite to take the seat, but the turnout has made predictions more difficult.
The high number of younger voters is tipped to benefit Kathleen Funchion of Sinn Féin and Patrick McKee of Renua.
Fine Gael's David Fitzgerald was also expected to be well in the reckoning.
However, strategists on the ground are still unwilling to call the result.
"You can make a case for everybody now. But the higher the turnout, the better for the opposition to Aylward," a local party strategist said.
Right across the constituency, the turnout was well up, hitting anything up to 10pc higher than a general election:
- 78pc in Castlecomer;
- 70pc in St Canice's;
- 70pc in South Kilkenny;
- 65pc in Carlow.
The turnout was thought to favour a Yes vote, but veterans warned against making assumptions. "The No crowd is out. The Yes crowd is out. Everyone that had a view came out. But it's a bit like a general election, if they were voting for you, they'd come over and shake your hand. There's a lot of silent people," a party strategist said.
Emergency ballot boxes were on standby as huge numbers of voters descended on polling stations to cast their votes in the by-election and two referendums.