The Queen declared the 20th Commonwealth Games officially open after being accompanied to the stadium by a Red Arrows flypast. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were driven into the arena before a crowd of 40,000 and an estimated global audience of around one billion.
Rod Stewart and Susan Boyle were among the entertainers who performed before the athletes were unveiled.
Elsewhere in the city, more than 10,000 revellers headed to the city's green to enjoy live music and party in the sunshine in the hours before the opening ceremony. Giant screens were also set up so people could watch the extravaganza live.
Earlier, Newtownards cyclist Martyn Irvine was named as Northern Ireland's flag bearer for the ceremony.
The 29-year-old said: "There are little chances to represent Northern Ireland in my lifetime, possibly eight to nine and so to do so in Glasgow so close to home in front of friends and family is a real honour.
"I'm honoured to be considered as flag bearer considering there are a lot of other athletes in the team with bigger CVs than I have."
Irvine, who won gold in the Scratch race at last year's World Track Championships and claimed bronze at the 2010 Delhi Games, will be competing in three races in Scotland. He will be contesting the 20k Scratch race, 40k Points race, and the road race on 1 August.
A total of 117 athletes will be representing Northern Ireland in 14 sports at the Glasgow Games.
It is the largest squad ever sent by Team NI and they departed for Scotland on Saturday determined to bring home the medals.
First Minister Peter Robinson was among those in attendance at the opening ceremony.
He said that the number of local athletes taking part is a real credit to the sheer grit and determination of those who dedicate their lives to their sport.
"I commend them along with their coaches and families who have worked so hard to qualify for the 2014 Commonwealth Games."
He added: "Sport has the power to inspire and energise and I am confident that many young people watching these Games will go on to be future competitors.
"I have no doubt that Team NI will demonstrate its determination to win and I look forward to great medal success at the Games."
The competition begins on Wednesday and goes on to 3 August.