President Michael D Higgins officially has begun his tour of South America with a visit to the Peruvian capital, Lima.

It is the first time an Irish head of State has visited Peru.

The visit aims to highlight the connections between Ireland and Latin America.

President Higgins was due to visit the tomb of Ambrosio O'Higgins, a Sligo man who became viceroy of Peru under Spanish rule in the 18th Century.

His son, Bernardo, went on to become a hero of Chile's struggle for independence.

The President's keynote address will concern the work of Roger Casement, who highlighted the abuse of indigenous people on rubber plantations in Peru by a British-registered company.

Casement was knighted for this work in 1911 - five years before he was executed for his part in the 1916 Rising.

He will also meet Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who has indicated he will be awarding President Higgins Peru's highest honour, the Order of the Sun.

President Higgins will also travel to Colombia, where he will meet President Juan Manuel Santos and leaders of the country's rebel movement FARC, before travelling to Havana to begin the first State visit to Cuba by an Irish President.

President Higgins will arrive back in Dublin on 19 February.