President Michael D Higgins has invited the Irish family around the world to recall the events that led to Ireland's independence.

In his St Patrick's Day address, Mr Higgins recalled the founding events of the Easter Rising of 1916, which he described as "one of the most significant events in our country's journey to independence".

Mr Higgins said it is appropriate we take the opportunity to "imagine what Ireland might yet become".

He said we must look at how we can use the freedom handed down to us "in such a way as will serve all our people".

He acknowledged the varied "ideologies and beliefs" of those who participated in the Rising.

Mr Higgins said all rejected empire and were "determined to achieve independence and proclaim a free republic with equal rights and opportunities for all its citizens".

He added that 100 years later we are urged to re-engage in crafting a republic of that type.

The President said that over the course of his term he has witnessed idealism reflective of that of the leaders of 1916, which he said was a pleasure to acknowledge.

He concluded by saying that, at out best, we are a nation defined by a commitment to human rights, creative imagination and the upholding of a freedom from oppression.

He said we have a large contribution to make in the fight against global poverty, hunger and climate change.