They were voting yes.
Pauline Flynn, 27, voted yes in Friday's referendum on the Northern Ireland peace settlement, saying it was time for violence to end.Patrick Scanlon, 33, voted yes, asserting that Ireland should give up its claim to the six northern counties in a new Europe without borders.
And Peter Loughlin, 81, voted yes, putting the future of his 29 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren above his republican dreams.
"There's rebel blood in my body, but I want peace for my family," said Loughlin, leaning on his carved, wooden cane outside a polling station in downtown Dublin Friday. "If you haven't got peace, you've got nothing."
Across Ireland, thousands of voters like these cast ballots Friday, taking part in an historic referendum that will determine if this country cedes its nationalist claims to Northern Ireland.
Taking part in the first all-Ireland poll in 80 years, voters from Dublin to Cork, Galway to Waterford, turned out in force Friday. Lured by the sense of history and wind-swept, sunny skies, they jammed polling stations so early that most pollsters were predicting a turn-out as high as 65 percent.
"The vote is up," said Tom Reddy, press director for Fianna Fail, the government party, which has campaigned vigorously in favor of the peace agreement. "Things are looking good." All 166 members of the Dail, or Irish parliament, were expected to vote yes, regardless of their party, the Irish Times reported Thursday.
While voters here cast ballots simultaneously with the North, the question was phrased differently. Here, voters were asked, " Do you approve of the proposal to amend the Constituion contained in the undermentioned Bill?"
That question incorporates six constitutional amendments that would allow the Good Friday accord to go forward. The amendments are conditional on the satisfaction of the Irish government that the peace deal is working a year from now.
Final results of the referendum will be announced Saturday. Less clear was the voting on a second referendum at issue Friday that asked voters to endorse or reject the 1997 Amsterdam Treaty. The treaty calls for closer cooperation among the 15 European Union countries on issues from defense to policing. The two referendums are not related.
Most voters interviewed Friday were enthusiastic about Ireland's future in the European Union. But they admitted they were far more preoccupied with seizing history's opportunity to settle the question of Northern Ireland than determining their role in Europe.
There was a sense Friday that Ireland's future was at stake. A stiff seabreeze whipped the scores of green posters hanging on lampposts, urging voters to vote "Yes." At corner pubs, talk was only of the referendum and the good weather.
There was no other news as far as the media was concerned. The popular tabloid, The Irish Sun, blasted its readers with the headline: "Future in Your Hands." Noted the more restrained Irish Times: "Historic Vote On North's Future."
And the Irish Independent ran a huge front-page editorial urging a yes vote. "We, the whole people of Ireland, can shake off the hand of history," wrote the newspaper. "We can choose the future in preference to the past."