Heartland voters choose compassion and cast off shackles of conservatism
Galway East was the first vote count completed and it destroyed the myth of an urban-rural divide
The expected rural-urban divide in the run-up to the referendum - with Yes campaigners worried a strong majority in the East would be counterbalanced by opposition from country voters - did not happen.
Not only did the major towns and cities vote emphatically Yes, but mainly rural constituencies also voted to repeal by significant majorities.
While support was strongest in key urban areas, especially Dublin, it was clear from early yesterday morning that rural voters were happy to bring about a sea-change to Ireland's abortion laws.
Constituencies in Connacht and Ulster were the big surprise.
Galway East was the first constituency to return a result, a resounding 60.2pc Yes win.
That was a surprisingly large majority in what had been considered, in the past, a deeply conservative constituency that would have been considered winnable by No campaigners.
Roscommon-South Leitrim had been the only constituency to oppose the 2015 referendum on gay marriage but the new Roscommon Galway constituency, which covers much of the same area, this time voted 57.2pc in favour of repeal.
County Clare came in at 64.3pc, Offaly at 58pc and Tipperary 59pc voting Yes.
Results in Limerick were also noted because figures returned in the city constituency have previously been a signpost for the overall national poll in the Divorce and Marriage Equality referendums. Locals believe it is a strong barometer for how the rest of the country will vote because of its unique mix of urban and rural populations.
Limerick city voted 66.8pc in favour of Repeal, with the county constituency voting 58pc in favour, indicating Ireland was heading for a majority above 60pc.
As results came in from Carlow-Kilkenny (63.5pc), Laois (61.4pc) and Waterford (69.4pc), politicians and campaigners had turned their attention to the introduction of legislation.
Ministers and TDs who campaigned in favour of repeal have now called on their counterparts with opposing views to facilitate the passage of legislation allowing for abortions through the Dail and Seanad.
Constituencies with the strongest Yes/No vote
The table below shows the top five constituencies with the strongest vote for or against repealing the Eighth Amendment.
Dublin Bay South 78.49% 21.51%
Dún Laoghaire 77.06% 22.94%
Dublin Fingal 76.96% 23.04%
Dublin Central 76.51% 23.49%
Dublin Rathdown 76.10% 23.90%
Donegal 48.13% 51.87%
Some are concerned that TDs will attempt to delay progress and filibuster on the issue.
Independent TDs Mattie McGrath and Michael Healy-Rae said they would not impede legislation.
Mr Healy-Rae told the Sunday Independent he had no intention of getting in the way of proposed legislation.
He said he was surprised the country was not split on the issue.
"It is very unique and I would have predicted myself that there would be more of an urban-rural divide," he said.
"There was not and obviously people were very in tune with what was going on around them and they wanted a Yes vote," Mr Healy-Rae said.
"It is what the people want. I didn't want it to be repealed but it has been done and I respect that and I won't be obstructing its passage through the Dail because to do so would be wrong.
"This is not an issue for that type of reaction by politicians. The people have spoken," he said.
Fianna Fail TDs who opposed repeal of the Eighth Amendment have been told by a party colleague that they are disconnected from the public.
Limerick TD Niall Collins said many of his party colleagues have to be questioned for supporting a No vote, saying the public are well ahead on the issue.
Mr Collins is one of 10 Fianna Fail TDs who supported a Yes vote while 33 of his party colleagues called for the Eighth Amendment to be retained.
Speaking at the count centre in Limerick, he said: "I think some of our parliamentary party are disconnected from where the public are. That is evident and it was borne out.
"There is a message there for some within the Fianna Fail party that the public are well ahead in this issue," he said.