Hundreds of free artistic and cultural events have taken place across the country today to mark the first Cruinniú na Cásca festival.

Cruinniú na Cásca is a Creative Ireland initiative presented by RTÉ, with hundreds of thousands attending events nationwide.

One of the centrepiece events of last year's Easter Rising commemorations was the family friendly 'Reflecting the Rising' event held in Dublin city centre on Easter Monday.

Today's arts and culture event is being held to celebrate contemporary Irish culture and creativity.

A special large scale event was held in Dublin, centred around four zones in Smithfield, Dublin Castle, St Stephen's Green and Custom House Quay.

Initiatives include live music and dance, art and music workshops, talks and tastings, readings and screenings, and other special events.

Around the country, local authorities have organised their own Cruinniú na Cásca activities with a special focus on events for families and children.

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Minister Heather Humphreys and Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys said that up to 50 events are taking place outside Dublin this year and that it is her hope more events can be staged nationwide in 2018.

"Engaging in the arts and culture is good for our well-being and through Cruinniú na Cásca and the Creative Ireland Programme we are aiming to increase participation in the arts among young and old, for the betterment of our society," she added.