Over 200 events are set to take place in the United States this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan launched the official US 2016 Centenary Programme in New York city.

Over 200 cultural, economic and political events are scheduled to take place across the US, with 70 of them taking place in New York alone.

The programme includes a special Irish festival in Washington DC, as well as a commemorative event on Capitol Hill.

In New York, some 4,000 people are expected to attend an event at Battery Park, looking across to Ellis Island - the historic first stopping point for immigrants - on 24 April, the 100th anniversary of Easter Monday.

The flagship event of the US commemorative programme is the special three-week Irish festival at the John F Kennedy Center in Washington DC in May, incorporating theatre, dance, music and literature.

It will begin on 18 May with a special Abbey Theatre performance of Sean O'Casey's 'The Plough and the Stars'.

Fiona Shaw will be the actor-in-residence at the centre which is the biggest performing arts centre in the US.

Writer Colum McCann and tenor Anthony Kearns will also feature during the festival and both men will perform during the launch events in New York today.

Over 33 million people in the United States claim Irish heritage, and the programme has been designed to allow as many members of the Irish diaspora to take part.

Many of the events have been organised with the support of the Irish Embassy in Washington DC and the six consulates across the US.

There will be a number of special conferences and symposia taking place as well throughout the year including ones hosted by Boston College and Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

A special booklet listing all 200 plus events will be available on the Department of Foreign Affair's website later today.