An Irishman  who was the victim of a savage attack in Australia has awoken from an eight-month coma.

David Keohane, 29, suffered serious injuries and was left for dead after the assault in Sydney.

Keohan, from Ballvolane in County Cork, was attacked Aug. 6 in the backpackers' haven of Coogee.

Police believe that he came across a robbery and that thieves attacked him to prevent him from identifying them.

Keohane stayed in Sydney until he was flown home to Ireland in September when his condition was said to have stablized.

However, he remained in a coma until St Patrick's Day when he opened his eyes for the first time.

His condition has since improved and he is now fully conscious.

A family friend said that Keohane was able to talk and recognized family members. He is now said to be "comfortable" and doctors hope he shows further signns of improvement.

The attack, which outraged Australia, sent shock waves round the close-knit Irish community in Sydney.

Keohane's attackers left him to die at the side of the road and his injuries were so horrific that police were initially unable to identify him.

Keohane was so badly injured that he had to undergo facial reconstruction surgery.