President Michael D Higgins has highlighted the importance of young people playing music.

Speaking as he launched this year's Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Drogheda he said these young people are "making their culture and making their music, rather than sitting there as dependent variables on what is very often commodified entertainment"

He also praised the valuable connection music provides to a wider world, "a world without borders" he said.

This year, Drogheda will welcome the first uilleann piper from Brazil to participate at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

Alex Navar has travelled form Sao Paulo for the event.

He plays the uilleann pipes and the tin whistle and was the first Brazilian to study traditional music in Ireland.

The President said this is "a testimony to the worldwide interest in the unique Irish uilleann piping tradition which now has UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage status.

Addressing climate change President Higgins said he was delighted to hear of the great effort that has gone into ensuring this year's Fleadh will be another "Green Fleadh".

A Green Fleadh local business programme, the use of reusable Fleadh beer glasses, bike hire, shuttle bus provision and walking promotion are all measures introduced.

"Climate change is the great existential challenge of our time, a challenge that requires brave and wise decisions from world leaders, but it is important that we do not lose sight of the many small ways in which we as citizens can make a significant contribution to our shared planet's global welfare" said President Higgins.

This is the second year of the Fleadh in Drogheda.

Organisers say 500,000 visitors will visit the town over the week.

The event is worth an extra €50m to the local economy.

Mullingar, Co Westmeath has been selected as next year's location.

The week-long event celebrates Irish tradition through music, song, dance and the Irish language.

Many of the country's leading traditional musicians, singers and dancers will take to stages around the town over the week, including Eleanor McEvoy, Zoë Conway, Damien Dempsey, Sean Keane, Nathan Carter and Sibéal Ní Chasside.

The RTÉ Concert Orchestra will also perform.

There will also be classes throughout the week for a range of instruments, including the bodhrán, concertina, fiddle, flute, harp, accordion and uilleann pipes.

The Chief Executive of Louth County Council Joan Martin said hosting the Fleadh will have significant long term benefits for Drogheda and Co Louth.