The ballot boxes were opened at 9am at the count centre located at the WIT Arena in Waterford.
Early tallies showed Michael D Higgins comfortably ahead with 53% of the vote and Peter Casey in second place on 24%.
Those tallies proved largely accurate when the first count was declared late on Saturday afternoon.
The count centre remained very quiet throughout the day with only a handful of politicians checking on proceedings.
Waterford’s Sinn Fein TD David Cullinane insisted it was not a mistake run Liadh Ni Riada as their candidate.
Ms Ni Riada won 8 per cent support, well down on the performance of Martin Mc Guinness in 2011.
David Cullinane congratulated Michael D Higgins and wished him well. Commenting on Peter Casey’s support, the Sinn Fein TD said he got an anti-establishment vote. He also lamented the poor turnout.
Former Fine Gael Senator, local councillor and Mayor Maurice Cummins gave his assessment of the Waterford vote. He said he wasn’t surprised at the low voter turnout due to the quality of the debate.
The veteran politician said the Fine Gael party was right not to run an opposing candidate, given the popularity of the Michael D Higgins, and the fact that there will be local and European elections next year and possibly even a general election.
The blasphemy referendum was also certain to be carried with a 70% yes vote.
Speaking on the blasphemy referendum, councillor Declan Clune said the referendum hardly featured in the run up to the election, while labour candidate for the upcoming local elections Seamus Ryan said people were ill informed about the referendum.
The first count was given just after 4.30 by returning officer Niall Rooney. The results were as follows:
Valid poll – 35,670
Casey, Peter – 8,822 (24%)
Duffy, Gavin – 847 (2%)
Freeman, Joan – 2,025 (5%)
Gallagher, Sean – 2,530 (7%)
Higgins, Michael D. – 18,609 (52%)
Ni Riada, Liadh – 2,837 (8%)