Political intrigue, high drama and farce characterised Ireland s presidential campaign of 2011.
Consistent opinion poll-topper David Norris was the first to declare and the first to crash out after it was revealed he had appealed for clemency for his former lover who was convicted of statutory rape of a teenage boy.
A month later, he was back in the race. A media frenzy erupted again when it emerged that new party leader, Micheál Martin, had tried but failed to convince broadcasting legend Gay Byrne to run for Fianna Fáil.
Fine Gael’s Enda Kenny favoured parachute candidate Pat Cox but Gay Mitchell bucked party HQ and won the nomination.
Weeks later, both he and Special Olympics organiser Mary Davis laid claim to the exact same slogan as they unveiled their poster campaign!
Martin McGuinness was a surprise entry into the field and was dramatically confronted and challenged throughout the campaign about his past as an IRA commander.
Former presidential candidate Dana was the final entrant into the field. When her campaign car skidded off the road it launched speculation about an assassination attempt. But it was the revelations on the final TV debate on Frontline and a fake tweet that became a game changer for Dragons Den star Seán Gallagher and resulted in the election of poet and politician Michael D. Higgins with over one million votes to secure the Áras.
The whole story is here, recalling the highs and lows in the most gripping election ever.