Source: Press TV
As the votes were counted it soon became clear that the ruling party Fianna Faill had been routed. Blamed by the public for Ireland's deep financial crisis, the once dominant Fianna Faill looked set to gain only around 15% of the votes.
By contrast, it was all smiles for the opposition centre-right party Fine Gael party, which won the election with around 36% of the vote.
Later, the prime minsiter elect received a rousing welcome from supporters. And he pledged to rebuild trust between politicians and the people.
Ireland's problems run deep. A few months ago the government took out an 85 billion euro loan just to keep the country running. There are around 500,000 people unemployed, welfare benefits have been cut, and about 1,000 people are leaving the country each week in search of work abroad.
In the face of voter discontent with the ruling party, smaller parties and independents also made significant breakthroughs.
Voters seem to have punished the ruling Fianna Fail party for the country's devastating financial crisis. But they haven't made a radical change away from the policies that brought about that crisis. So the question is: can a Fine Gael government, possibly in coalition with Labour, lead the country to economic recovery?