Some 3,000 people were conferred with Irish citizenship at highly emotional ceremonies in the Convention Centre in Killarney on Monday.
Among the new Irish citizens who took an oath of allegiance to the Irish State, was the English-born wife of Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe.
Mr Donohoe gave the address at the conferring ceremony at the second of the three ceremonies which saw his wife, Justine Davey, sworn in at the centre attached to the Gleneagle Hotel.
The couple married in 2001.
Neither he or his wife wanted to give a comment to the press, they said.
Some 312 English people became Irish citizens - the second highest grouping after Poland (586) and ahead of Romania (280).
Brexit was the catalyst for sound designer to Riverdance, Michael Sean O’Gorman, originally from Surrey, in seeking to become an Irish citizen.
His Irish heritage stems way back and he had no family connections when he moved here 35 years ago. He lives in Co Wexford with his partner, the singer Eleanor McEvoy.
“I felt committed because of Brexit,” Mr O’Gorman said.
He did not know what to expect from the ceremony which was introduced in 2011 by then Justice Minister Alan Shatter to address the backlog and take citizenship out of District Courts to more special occasions.
“I feel so moved. When they (the army) presented colours on stage, tears came to my eyes,” he said, adding that the Minister (of State at the Department of Justice, David Stanton who officiated at the morning ceremony) and Mr Justice Bryan McMahon, retired High Court Judge who administered the oath “were great”.
People from 120 countries and many walks of life were represented.
Information Technology Software consultants from India, Vijayashree and her husband Drindihi, who live in Adamstown Dublin, moved to Ireland six years ago.
“When we came here we thought we would stay for a year or two,” Vijayashree said.
But the Irish people were so friendly, they decided to make Ireland their home.
The only set-back for the couple was their Irish-born son Dhruva was not granted citizenship today with them.
Dhruva marched to the music at the front of the stage much to the amusement of the front row.
He was disappointed not to have got his certificate on Monday but it will be easier for him now he has turned five, his mother said.
Diversity of culture and tradition is something the new Ireland welcomes, speakers said, as those who stood to take the oath included women in head scarfs, at least one with a full face veil, alongside women in race day glamour.
Beautifully clad in lace and chiffon and silver sandals, friends Hetlena Connor from Brazil who has been living in Dublin for seven years, and Vanessa Araujo from Sligo, in Ireland for 11 years, said the occasion means a huge amount to each of them.
Friends, Randy Mazingu (23) originally from the Congo, and working in Google; Nathan Adams also 23, originally from South Africa and now a care assistant in a Dublin hospital, were overjoyed and congratulated each other as they posed for pictures shortly after the first ceremony.
"It’s special, a massive relief,” said Nathan who has lived here for 14 years.
Encouraging the new Irish to contribute to their communities, “perhaps through sport", Mr Justice McMahon drew a spontaneous round of applause when he revealed that Joe Schmidt “of Irish rugby” got his citizenship in one of the 138 ceremonies that have now taken place:
“And you can’t deny his contribution to sport in this country!,” the Kerry-born judge said.
We are a nation of emigrants. We understand emigration and now more than ever we have sons and daughters who have had to emigrate and who live abroad but, with your help, we will rebuild our economy and welcome them back.
A number of people rose to give a standing ovation, and after the ceremony several hugged each other.
This is the second occasion when large-scale citizenship ceremonies have been held outside of Dublin.
The Gleneagle Hotel Convention Centre, Killarney is the new location for large citizenship ceremonies going forward.
Details of future ceremonies and the process for applying for citizenship are on www.inis.gov.ie