The Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble has lost his Upper Bann constituency seat to the DUP.
The shift from the UUP to the DUP has been reflected in other constituencies, meanwhile SDLP leader Mark Durkan has held his seat in the face of a strong challenge from Sinn Fein.
The DUP's Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams won with increased majorities.
What is your reaction to the results? What do they mean for the future of the Northern Ireland peace process?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
I find it appalling that the election has gone this way. I believe many of the UUP and SDLP voters have become disillusioned and apathetic. But voting for the polar extremes will not help anything... these parties only care about point-scoring against each other.
Emily Kennedy, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry
People seem to forget that that these results are irrelevant. The real election was on the mainland - this is merely a sideshow! The Labour government will make all the important decisions regarding the future of Northern Ireland and provide the money to keep the NI economy afloat.
We in the north need Sinn Fein to look after the interests of our nationalist community, especially with the ever growing emergence of the DUP. Sinn Fein is the only party that are truly committed to achieving our ultimate destiny; a united and fair Ireland for Protestants and Catholics.
Sean, Belfast, Co Down
The shift from moderate middle-of-the-road politics to the extremes can only be put down to the lacklustre performance of the three main centre parties - UUP, SDLP and Alliance - it is time for them to get their act together and form an electoral pack for the next series of elections so the "silent majority" of the voting public can have someone credible to vote for. So come on UUP, SDLP and Alliance - start the talking!
William, Ballyclare, County Antrim
It is a good time for Northern Ireland. Finally the UUP have been wiped out bar one seat, and their leader David Trimble has been humiliated and ousted from his seat. The UUP have done nothing but give nationalists what they want, and have forgotten about the unionists that put them in power in the first place. Ian Paisley is a good man and stands up for what he believes in and keeps his promises. The only reason why he is hated by nationalists is because he doesn't give them what they want like David Trimble did.
Seven years ago the Good Friday Agreement was overwhelmingly endorsed by the people of Northern Ireland. Yesterday Mr Trimble (instrumental in the creation of that agreement and the voice of reason within Unionism) was destroyed politically. Mr Paisley, who openly and unashamedly wants to destroy the said agreement, gained massive support and now the DUP are the number one party in Northern Ireland. To all those who put a cross next to a DUP candidate yesterday, I hope you can sleep at night.
Bernard Fitzsimons, Huddersfield, UK
Let's face it, this is no surprise at all, and just a continuation of the 800-year-old problem. At least the guns remain silent, and as long as they do there is hope. I offer my prayers for all the people of Ireland.
Paul, London, UK
After the results in Northern Ireland this week, it can only be a matter of time before terror returns to the streets of the province. One of Tony Blair's first jobs should be to pull what remains of the British Army out before it becomes embroiled again. The people of Northern Ireland have spoken, let them reap what they have sown.
Trimble's humiliation is down to the simple fact that Republicans have still not delivered on their side of the "bargain". Unionists have now sent a clear message that they won't deal with active terrorists. It is time for Sinn Fein/IRA to deliver their side of the deal.
Jonathan Galloway, Henley-on- Thames, Oxfordshire.
It is clear from this result that large numbers of the people in Northern Ireland aren't particularly keen on uniting the communities and would much rather stay polarised. It doesn't take a genius to conclude that Peter Hain will encounter serious problems during his stay in the NI Office.
Adam Johns, Cardiff, UK
Does it really matter? Ireland is effectively united already under Brussels, as is the remainder of the UK. The IRA has already been morally, politically and militarily defeated - despite their bluster. The world has moved on - it is highly unlikely (post 11 September 2001) that they will ever re-discover the financial kudos they once had amongst the Irish diaspora, particularly in the US.
At long last David Trimble and his party have realised that traditional unionists will not put up with their continual pandering to Sinn Fein. It is time that he realised the people of Upper Bann and Northern Ireland cannot be bluffed and that he cannot make deals with the IRA/Sinn Fein. At long last there is a true voice for decent Unionists and it's time Tony Blair took notice!
Densie, Lurgan, Co Armagh
It's a terrible shame to see the polarisation of the electorate in this election. I lay the blame squarely at the door of Sinn Fein/IRA.
Adam Murphy, Cork
This is a great day for Ulster. The people have said we are British and here to stay.
Roy, Belfast, UK
I am a little tired of the media pundits and has-been politicos forecasting gloom and doom over this result. In my view the electorate have decided that they want strong leadership on both sides, so that they can get the best deal possible in future negotiations. Face facts the only way the NI situation can be solved is if the most opposed groups do a deal. I believe a deal will be done within 18 months.
Glad to see SDLP kept Foyle and gained south Belfast. It's a shame that the majority of the electorate have retreated to polar extremes, despite recent events and the political impasse.
Mark, Dallas, TX
If the DUP and SF aren't the parties people want, why are so many of us voting for them? Come on the DUP.
It's a really sad day for Northern Ireland as the split between green and orange grows deeper and deeper with only the extremists benefiting. The continual loss of the moderates ensures we'll wait a long, long time for real peace and stability in this country.
Simon, Belfast, Northern Ireland
More bickering between the two largest parties with the people's views being ignored for one upmanship. Glad to see Sylvia Hermon re-elected, she worked hard for North Down putting the community before political bickering with other parties. DUP behaviour during her winning speech shows them up for what they really are!
Neal, Bangor, NI
Best news I heard all day was when I heard David Trimble had been defeated. Well Done David Simpson and good riddance to Trimble. Yee ha!
Alistair, Connor, Ballymena
I am extremely depressed by the results, particularly David Trimble's demise, and the fact that there has been a major move to the extremes. Both the DUP and Sinn Fein will both talk about their mandates and rattle their sabres and everyone in Northern Ireland will lose. Who said "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely"? Watch Northern Ireland and will the last one to leave switch out the lights.
John, Northern Ireland
I think these results show that the Northern Ireland people are not really that interested in peace after all. They are more interested in perpetuating a struggle that, frankly, has no value outside their own borders and certainly not in the 21st century. I'm very disappointed and fearful for the future. But the electorate has spoken...
Ash (NI expat), United Kingdom
The DUP are doing very well and thank God, they are what we need to sort out education and get Stormont sorted out. Good Luck to Jeffery Donaldson.
Jason , Northern Ireland
I think that the peace process will have a better chance with Gerry Adams and other Sinn Fein representatives. I'm a little disappointed that Ian Paisley has been re-elected. Perhaps some people like living in the past.
I know it's a cliché, but will the last person to leave NI please turn the lights out? I am very depressed that a supposedly civilised people can vote these Neanderthal parties into power. I think we have forgotten what the troubles were like, and therefore the true value of the current "peace" however fragile, seems less. Never mind, when the irresistible force of Sinn Fein bangs off the immovable object of the DUP for a while, we'll go back to the gun and the bullet; that's what you all want, it seems.
David, Newry, Co Down
What a sad day for peace, what a sad day for the agreement. I am a nationalist voter, heart-broken about the departure of David Trimble and the UUP, you fought the good fight David. I despair for the future of the North with SF and the DUP - God be with us.
Mike, Omagh, Co Tyrone