This was a good day for Fianna Fáil, the Greens and Sinn Féin.

Crucially too it is a day not too distant from the point at which the entire electorate will be able to deliver its judgment in a general election.

That means any political energy generated today may well be sustained all the way to that campaign.

This is particularly good news for Sinn Féin, which up until now had looked to be a party in decline since Mary Lou McDonald took over as leader from Gerry Adams.

Mark Ward's win and Thomas Gould's solid showing in Cork lends no little weight to Mary Lou McDonald's claim this evening that the party has turned the ship.

All the while the Green Party ship continues to pick up speed.

The party's first by-election win is significant albeit in a constituency where it had a TD elected from the years of 1992 to 2007.

The Greens look well on course to meet or even exceed its target of winning six seats in the next general election.

Fianna Fáil too can think about seat gains off the back of its two by-election wins.

Particularly in Wexford where it now has close to two quotas.

After the travails of the campaign the second place finish of Lorraine Clifford Lee in Dublin Fingal hints at the possibility of two seats in this constituency in the future.

Labour fell short of its by-election win in Fingal, but there was a creditable showings from Duncan Smith, George Lawlor and John Maher.

For Fine Gael, well this is probably a few weeks that it will want to forget about.

But it probably has positioned Colm Burke for a general election win in Cork North Central, ditto Emer Higgins in Dublin Mid-West.

Most importantly though the precious commodity that is political momentum lies not with the Government party, but with the opposition after today's results.