Michael D. Higgins was sworn in as Ireland's new president on Friday, with the 70-year-old poet and intellectual taking office in a ceremony at Dublin Castle filled with prayer and song.
Higgins said it was "time to turn to an older wisdom" in rebuilding Ireland's battered economy, moving away from individual materialism and creating a republic founded on community spirit instead.
Dignitaries filled Dublin Castle's splendid Saint Patrick's Hall for the showpiece ceremony, which culminated in Higgins signing the declaration and receiving the seal of office.
In a speech which alternated between English and Irish, he vowed to lead Ireland over the next seven years in "closing a chapter that has left us fragile as an economy but most of all wounded as a society".
Higgins became the ninth president of Ireland after repeating the declaration read aloud in Irish by Chief Justice Susan Denham and signing his name on the document.
As Higgins arrived at the castle in pouring rain under leaden skies, blustery winds blew one of the red carpets across the courtyard.
A veteran politician in the Labour Party, the junior governing coalition partners, Higgins was the clear winner of the 27 October election, taking 39.6 percent of first-preference votes.
He beat businessman Sean Gallagher into second place and Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, the former Irish Republican Army commander, into third in a field of seven candidates.