Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said our strategy is working to combat the coronavirus.
He said it is safe to move forward in two phases over the coming months.
He confirmed that a major re-opening of the country will take place on May 10th.
From this date, intercounty travel will return as hairdressers and barbers also re-open.
'Click and collect' retail will also return from this date, while religious services will resume with some restrictions.
Also from May 10th, three households will be allowed to meet up in a back garden - or a maximum of six people from more than three households.
Fully vaccinated people will also be allowed to meet one household of non-vaccinated people indoors.
Personal services like barbers, hairdressers and beauticians will be by appointment only.
While public transport capacity will increase to 50%, and outdoor sports training for adults can also resume.
All retail will be allowed re-open from May 17th, followed by hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses on June 2nd.
Outdoor dining in pubs and restaurants will also be allowed to return from June 7th, while gyms will re-open for individual training only.
Mr Martin also praised people's "hard work and sacrifices", which he said have put the country "in a better place."
"A million of our children are now safely back at school, our young people are back playing sport, house building has safely re-started all across the country, vital non-Covid healthcare is being restored, and, critically, our National Vaccination Programme is progressing well", he said.
He noted that by tonight, more than 1.5 million vaccine doses will have been administered.
This means almost 30% of everyone over 16 has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Mr Martin added: "We are getting through it and a degree of normality is returning. The company of friends and relations is returning.
"Hope is returning.
"Each and every one of us has an image in our head of a moment that we are looking forward to enjoying when we get through this. I know I have.
"Tonight, each and every one of us is closer to enjoying that moment than we have been for a very long time.
"Let's stick to the strategy, stay safe and continue to mind each other", he said.