Ireland these days is touched by despair: 15 percent unemployment, mass emigration, a crippling bank bailout. But an Olympic heroine with a winning right hook is lifting the nation's heart.
Lightweight Katie Taylor is widely expected to win Ireland's first boxing gold in two decades. Employers across Ireland are letting workers leave early to watch her 4:45 p.m. fight versus Russia's Sofya Ochigave on Thursday.
A huge street party is forming in Taylor's hometown of Bray and thousands have traveled across the Irish Sea, transforming the Olympics boxing arena in London into a St. Patrick's Day parade.
"People with their hard-earned cash are coming over here and spending it to support Katie," marveled Peter Taylor, her coach and father.
— Shawn Pogatchnik — Twitter http://twitter.com/ShawnPogatchnik
EDITOR'S NOTE — "Eyes on London" shows you the Olympics through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across the 2012 Olympic city and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.