He said he will not seek reelection to the Irish parliament, the Dáil Éirean.
"Republicanism has never been stronger. That time is now", Adams said in an emotional speech to a packed party conference.
Last night, the party voted in favour of a motion to hold a special conference on any decision to enter coalition government, with Mary Lou McDonald telling delegates that those who said Sinn Fein were not interested in government were very wrong. The two were given a standing ovation as they embraced and gave the crowd a clenched fist salute.
There has been a plan set in place, since before the death of Martin McGuinness earlier this year.
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Mr. Adams was a central figure in the republican nationalist movement throughout the three decades of violence between Catholic militants seeking a united Ireland, mainly Protestant militants who wanted to maintain Northern Ireland's position as a part of Britain, and the British Army.
He and his party emerged from the political cold in October 1997 when he shook hands with Prime Minister Tony Blair, the British leader then, at their first meeting.
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Adams was key in the peace process that saw the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and the formation of the power-sharing government in Northern Ireland.
He spoke about challenges to human rights in Northern Ireland because of Brexit, and because of the deal between Theresa May and Sinn Fein's unionist opponents, the DUP.
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