President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny have attended ceremonies in Dublin to mark the 96th anniversary of the Easter Rising.

Around 300 members of the Defence Forces and a number of bands took part in the ceremony outside the GPO on O'Connell Street.

Head Chaplain to the Defence Forces Monsignor Eoin Thynne prayed that this "proud nation" can have the courage to overcome hardship and austerity, and can build on the progress that has already been made.

Monsignor Thynne asked that people always choose hope over despair and that Irish people may believe profoundly in ourselves and in the future of Ireland which will again be the "best small country in the world."

The Proclamation was read by Captain Shane Keogh after a piper's lament and President Higgins laid a wreath.

A minute's silence was observed, the Last Post and National Anthem were sounded, and the ceremony ended with a flypast by the Air Corps.

The Taoiseach, Defence Minister Alan Shatter and relatives of those who fought in 1916 were in attendance, along with Chief of Staff, Lt Gen Sean McCann and a number of senior officers.

Dublin Lord Mayor Andrew Montague, Chief Justice Susan Denham, the Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan and the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown were among the 3,000 people at today's ceremony.

Cadets from the Military College on the Curragh played a central role in the ceremony. Their arms drill with the Steyr rifle has recently been refreshed and was displayed by them for the first time at a State occasion today.

Elsewhere, a ceremony was held at Glasnevin Cemetery to honour the creators of the national flag and anthem.

Edward Hollywood and Peader Kearney are both buried in Glasnevin.

Minister Deenihan attended the ceremony along with Chairman of the Glasnevin Trust John Green and Chief Executive of the Trust George McCullough.

Wreaths were placed on both men's graves.

Meanwhile, thousands of people have been taking part in the annual Easter commemoration ceremonies in Northern Ireland, with parades in Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone.

The largest attendance was in Belfast where bands and marchers paraded along the Falls Road to the Republican plot in Milltown Cemetery.