The people of Ireland look set to have voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing equal marriage.

In a referendum on Friday, voters were asked to vote yes or no to amending the constitution, with a new clause reading: ‘Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.’

Although the result has yet to be officially declared, both sides of the campaign have said the change is most likely to be passed, with some areas of Dublin voting 70 per cent in favour, and even conservative rural areas such as Mayo thought to have voted 55 per cent in favour of the change.

The founder of the conservative Iona Institute, David Quinn, who had been a strong opponent of equal marriage, sent his congratulations to the yes campaign, adding that ‘it was always going to be an uphill battle.’

Many Irish people living abroad temporarily went home to vote, with pictures appearing on Twitter of a party atmosphere on one train between Holyhead and London.

Irish referendum party train

The country only legalised homosexuality in 1993.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: ‘The Irish people have voted for love and equality. Oscar Wilde would be so proud. This vote will give hope to millions of same-sex couples around the world who want to marry the person they love. Equal marriage is an unstoppable global trend. The Irish vote is proof that love can triumph over prejudice and discrimination.’