London 2012: Jedward lead the way on Dublin leg of Olympic torch relay
JEDWARD-mania hit the streets of Dublin today as the pop duo carried the Olympic Torch through the city.
Thousands of people lined the streets as 41 torchbearers made the historic journey after an early morning cross border handover to Olympic medalist Michael Carruth.
X Factor stars Jedward - formerly known as long-distance runners John and Edward Grimes - lifted the spirits of the nation as they made their down down O'Connell Street, Dublin's main thoroughfare, and past some of the city's most famous landmarks.
John said: "It's such a great experience being here.
"It was such an honour to carry the Olympic Torch in the relay.
"Thank you, guys, so much for all coming out and being so Jepic and so Jedicated to the Olympics.
"Last year we had Barack Obama and this year we have the Olympic Torch."
Edward added: "We're so excited to be here. The Olympic Torch is so symbolic, you better be watching the Olympics.
"Go, Team Ireland!"
Irish Olympic boxing medallists Wayne McCullough and Michael Carruth took part in an early-morning handover ceremony as the torch crossed the border and travelled to the Republic.
Special permission was granted so the torch could go to the south of Ireland for a historic tour that symbolised the peace process.
Jockey Ruby Walsh, footballer Paul McGrath, and Olympic-winning runners Ronnie Delany and Sonia O'Sullivan were among the sports stars who took part in the relay and a ceremony in St Stephen's Green.
Rachel O'Neill, 9, from Churchtown in Dublin, said: "I came here to see Jedward carry the Olympic torch. It was awesome because, like, they're Jedward.
"I didn't know it would be a big thing with a fire on top, I thought it was a torch you would shine stuff on."
Lord Coe, chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, said the event was everything organisers wanted.
"The welcome has been extraordinary," he said.
"They've been 10, 15, 20 deep, they're hanging out of office windows, and I saw somebody halfway up a lamppost. That's commitment.
"I'm really pleased we came here. I felt it was a right thing to do.
"This is a country that's excellent at sport. You've got an extraordinary history in sport and having Michael Carruth run with it this morning symbolises what it's all about."
Taoiseach Enda Kenny welcomed the torch to Government Buildings, which Queen Elizabeth visited last year.
"The symbolism is so powerful," said Mr Kenny.
"It epitomises in so many ways what the Olympics actually stand for - higher, faster and stronger - for all of those young people who can be inspired by sport, that they take up to become world champions.
"It's an enormous commitment for split-second timing to be the best in the world and to achieve Olympic glory and therefore, like Ronnie Delaney, everybody knows him because of his achievements in 1956.
"On behalf of the people of this country, it's great to have the Olympic flame come through."