Speaking at Trinity College Dublin, where she was awarded an honorary patronage from the university’s Philosophical Society, the First Minister said independence will come to Scotland in her lifetime.
She said: “I have always believed Scotland will become an independent country and I think it will become an independent country well within my lifetime – and this may be the moment for that.”
Britain’s momentous vote to leave the European Union has encouraged Sturgeon”s endless push for a second referendum, particularly if the UK opts to leave the single market.
Last month she claimed it was “highly probable” that Scotland would hold another independence referendum by 2020, although she is unlikely to make any decisions until Britain’s Brexit strategy is revealed.
She warned Westminster ministers Scotland would have the right to “choose other alternatives” if the government opted for a hard Brexit.
Sturgeon also backed the idea that Remainers who still wanted to live and work within the EU could retain their citizenship, an idea backed by Brussels’ chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt.
She said: “People say to me – as I’m sure they are saying to (Mr Verhofstadt) about that particular proposal – that is impossible, that could never work.
“Well, how do we know that?
“We are going into a period that is completely uncharted, in terms of what happens now.”
“We shouldn’t be ruling out anything just now,” she added, after telling the audience she was willing to consider several “proposed solutions”.
“We should be open-minded about solutions that can help, whether it is Scotland or individuals, who want to retain their citizenship, their relationship with the EU”.
Scotland’s First Minister is in Dublin ahead of talks with Irish business and political leaders, with attempts to strengthen relations between Scotland and Ireland believed to be high on the agenda.
Her visit to Ireland comes after news politicians in Spain, Norway and even Wales claimed her attempts to get a special ‘Remain’ deal for Scotland were “impossible”.
Spanish MEP Esteban Gonzalez Pons branded the move “impossible” while Carwyn Jones, Sturgeon’s Welsh counterpart, claimed Sturgeon’s single market plans could not “possibly work”.