Lise Hand: One year on, Michael D has disappeared -- but we'd all prefer if he was rattling cages
A year ago today, on October 27, almost 1.8 million people picked up their pencils and voted for a new Irish President after what had been an extraordinary election campaign riven by controversies, revelations and mud-slinging.
In a sense, it was the Last Man Standing who was elected as the ninth Uachtaran na hEireann with a substantial final tally of 1,007,104 votes. Michael D Higgins began the Aras race as the frontrunner, but was overtaken by entrepreneur Sean Gallagher, who then had a spectacular fall at the last hurdle in the final days, leaving the Labour politician with a free run to the post.
After the dust had settled, there was general agreement that Michael D had run an exemplary and disciplined campaign; he had avoided getting embroiled in any mud-slinging, he attracted no controversy, and -- most remarkably for this famously loquacious speechifier -- broke with his tradition of delivering marathon addresses.