Ireland waited 35 years for this day to come - but the last 24 hours have seemed the longest of all. As exit polls point to an overwhelming near-70% vote in favor to Repeal the Eighth, we get a sense of the monumental impact May 25th 2018 has already had on modern Ireland.
While the official referendum result is yet to be called - initial exit polls have the pro-choice side and its tireless campaigners veritably leaping for joy after a divisive few months. In classic Irish fashion, "Repeal pints?!" was the phrase on many people's lips as the sun shone down on a changing country.
It was believed that a high turn out of young voters and Dublin residents would make up the majority of the 'repealers' - but the Irish Times exit polls point to a much broader base of Yes voters. The outlet reports that "most age groups" actually voted in favor, but also acknowledged that an astounding "87% of those aged 18- 24 voting in favor of repeal, compared with 40 per cent of those aged 65 and older."
As journalist Miriam Lord wrote in her emotive Irish Times color piece, "On Friday, with steely assurance, a new generation of all the generations faced down the suffocating old certainties and swept them aside. On Friday, May 25th, 2018, they stood up and were not afraid to be counted. Because those days are gone now."
On Twitter, some called for women like Ailbhe Smyth, a relentless campaigner since 1983, to be sent on vacation now that her life's dedication to the introduction of free, safe, legal abortion is on the cusp of coming to fruition. It's a reminder to everyone that this historic vote has been a long, long time coming.
Lord even mentioned meeting President Michael D. Higgins at the polling station, emotionally recalling the powerful speeches he made opposing the "callous" referendum on the Eighth Amendment in 1983 when he was president of the Labour Party.
Stand in awe of all Mná na hÉireann, in the words of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar - they've just made history.
referendum starter pack x pic.twitter.com/WXlwhHYyH6— Holly x (@hollyshortall) May 26, 2018
I can’t stop thinking about the women who have worked towards Repeal and bodily autonomy for years, who might actually get their reward tomorrow. Can we have a Gals Day in the Phoenix Park for them or something? WITH FREE WINE.— EmerTheScreamer (@EmerTheScreamer) May 25, 2018
The Earth has shifted on its axis. I am— Lisa Tierney-Keogh (@lisatk) May 26, 2018
so proud of every voice who stood up for compassion and equality. Cry, shake, breathe, repeat. #RepealThe8th
Tá— Dublin Girlo (@dublin_girlo) May 25, 2018
For all Mná
Not much would get me out of bed after having a homebirth 24 hours ago but my son wanted to get in some historic suffrage. we voted together for yes to pregnany/birth autonomy and consent, yes to a more equal society, yes to the 36th amendment. pic.twitter.com/5KoP1jQjeW— Katie Ingle (@katingly) May 25, 2018
I was cycling on the canal and @KittyHollandIT called and she said “well done” & that’s two words for every single one of us who cared enough to go out there and make this country a better place. My heart is bursting. We did it. We repealed the 8th! #repealthe8th #repealed pic.twitter.com/P0ldEqGeXO— Roisin Ingle (@roisiningle) May 25, 2018
Thank you to everyone who voted today. Democracy in action. It’s looking like we will make history tomorrow.... #Together4Yes— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) May 25, 2018
People are leaving flowers, YES badges and their “I’ve voted” stickers at the Savita mural at the Bernard Shaw in Dublin. My heart. 💚— Una Mullally (@UnaMullally) May 25, 2018
Tomorrow night has been upgraded from Out to Out Out. Dust off your jeans and a nice tops #omgwaca— SaREPEAL Breen (@SarahJayBee) May 25, 2018
Tara Flynn can never be thanked enough for what she did. The abuse she took for standing up and speaking out should never be forgotten. She is the kindest woman in the land. My hero. I love you @TaraFlynn ❤️#Repealthe8h #NotAFunnyWord pic.twitter.com/lAkEpJ990N— Roisin Ingle (@roisiningle) May 25, 2018
Here, what about how Ireland is fast becoming one of the most progressive countries in the world? Imagine what we could do if the church didn't run our schools & hospitals?— Taryn De Vere (@TarynDeVere) May 25, 2018
We are a risen people now ✊✊
Jesus lads, what do we do with the jumpers now? #repealthe8th— Em Maree (@emtmaree) May 26, 2018
Labour senator Kevin Humphries says initial tallies suggest Dublin Bay South has voted 80% in favour of repealing the eighth amendment. The area also had the largest support for marriage equality in 2015. #iestaff #8thref #repealthe8th #SaveThe8th via @Ocionnaith— Irish Examiner (@irishexaminer) May 26, 2018
Whatever the outcome, I want to say thank you to those women who have been fighting this fight publicly from so early on - @roisiningle, @TaraFlynn, @AnaCosgrave, @AndreaHoran, @UnaMullally, @MarianKeyes and all the others. We wouldn’t have got here without you 💚— Vicki No-Tá-ro (@vickinotaro) May 25, 2018
Just voted Yes for a more compassionate & caring Ireland with the stories & experiences of all those I have met and chatted with to the fore of my mind. Please keep working to get out the vote #togetherforyes #together2vote #hometovote pic.twitter.com/C6TYESHXMS— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) May 25, 2018
We need to start a gofundme to send @ailbhes and the rest of the @Together4yes crew on a long ass holiday in the sun #togetherforyes #RepealedThe8th #hometoveote #8theref #Repealed #RepealTheEighth #repealth8th #togetherforsesh— katiekavphoto | repealthe8th (@kateikavanagh) May 26, 2018
As a full-time broadcaster, I have had to remain 🤐 But today is the day ❤️ My CHOICE is to take MY BODY to the polling station to vote. Take from that what you will. #letsdothis #finally #hometovote (Yes I live in Dublin but have FOMO and want in on that epic thread)— Doireann Garrihy (@DoireannGarrihy) May 25, 2018
Heatmap of the some of the places in the world people traveled from to come #hometovote ... if this doesn't set you off you're broken and in need of urgent repair. Irish people are a class bunch #legends #TogetherForYes #repealthe8th pic.twitter.com/78j3lzeRaA— Drew Murphy (@drewtmurphy) May 24, 2018
Reading tweets from No side saying a new generation of pro-lifers was 'forged' during this campaign.— Holly x (@hollyshortall) May 26, 2018
88% of 18-24 year olds and 85% of 25-34 year olds voted YES to #repealthe8th according to exit polls x
Everything is still the same but EVERYTHING has changed.— The HunReal Issues (@HunRealIssues) May 26, 2018
If my superpower was being able to experience someone else's life, tomorrow I'd be @ailbhes. After so many years fighting for women, thru victories, setbacks, and defeats, and then pull this off... Tomorrow is going to be an AMAZING day to be Ailbhe Smith.— Dr Panti Bliss (@PantiBliss) May 25, 2018
And she deserves it ❤