Star Rory 'proud' as country turns out for gay marriage vote
THERE was an early morning rush at polling stations today as thousands turned out to vote in the referendums on marriage equality and changing the age limit in Presidential elections.
The emotive topic of same-sex marriage was the one creating the most debate, and voters were warned not to take selfies or wear badges or other messages in polling booths to keep the process neutral.
Voters are making history as Ireland becomes the first nation in the world to ask its electorate to legalise gay marriage.
Some well-known faces for whom the result can make a huge difference turned out early to make sure their vote mattered.
Mrs Brown's Boys star Rory Cowan voted early this morning before jetting out to Vienna for tomorrow night's Eurovision.
He had delayed his departure so he could vote at St James's Primary School in Basin St.
"I definitely felt proud to vote today, and I felt proud of Ireland as a country," he told the Herald.
"My opinion of Ireland has changed since this referendum came about."
"I used to think that we were a backward nation where change was resisted and never thought we'd see this day, but here it is and people are very passionate about it," Rory explained.
"Now I think we have a great little country. I think we are the first in the world to look at letting the people decide on same-sex marriage.
"It's a true example of how people can potentially change things. It's fabulous," he added.
"This is actually the first referendum that has actually meant something to me, and I'm 56."
He does, however, have one misgiving about the possibility of the referendum on same-sex marriage being passed.
"I'll be broke going to all these weddings. There'll be a rush of them," he laughed.
TV personality Darren Kennedy said he is contemplating leaving Ireland if today's marriage equality referendum does not pass.
The stylist and Unemployables presenter (31) told the Herald a 'No' outcome would be "catastrophic".
"If it weren't to pass I'd really have to consider where I'm going to call home," he said.
"It's only that we've gotten closer to it that I've realised we're actively asking whether people accept and support gay people. That's a big deal if it isn't a positive outcome."
Darren described the referendum as a massive milestone in the development of Irish society and was a mix of emotions as he cast his vote alongside his puppy Harry.
"It really is a historic moment one way or the other. I feel emotional, nervous, anxious, and happy all at once," he said.
Actor Colin Farrell's brother Eamon and his husband Steven Mannion were among the earliest at 7am this morning to cast their ballot papers in Star of the Sea, Sandymount polling station.
TV presenter Brendan Courtney said he felt very emotional turning up at Brunswick Street to cast his vote this morning.
"People were wishing us good luck and it was great to see so many out voting and so much support," he said.
"But even though there is so much support for a Yes vote I'm still nervous about the result," he added. "It could be closer than we think.
"My view is that there is a massive focus on Ireland with this and we will either be the laughing stock of the world if the same-sex marriage issue is defeated, or we will be seen as a progressive forward-thinking nation that I can be proud of."