What have the Irish Googled in the past ten years? Death, sex and gossip


Internet giant Google is marking its tenth anniversary in Ireland by publishing a list of Irish web surfers’ most-searched-for topics. The results indicate that Irish people are most interested in celebrity death, sex and gossip. What a surprise!

The company, which opened its Dublin office in 2004 with five employees, now employs 2,500 workers in a large complex off the Grand Canal Dock. The facility is Google’s largest office outside of the U.S.

2004: Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake during her famous “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl. Source: En.wikipedia.org
2004: Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake during her famous “wardrobe malfunction.". Source: En.wikipedia.org


On their site, Google lists the top Irish searches by year. In 2004, technical terms like PHP, XML, HTML and SAP led the “what is” search list, which also included “what is broadband.” “What is Love” came in at number eight, showing that even the nerdiest hearts could be lonely sometimes.

Sports fans googled the 2004 Olympics in Athens, the Euro Cup and the Ryder Cup. People searches focused on Ken Bigley, Nick Berg, both of whom were abducted and killed by Islamist militants in Iraq. Janet Jackson, who famously flashed her boob during the Super Bowl, edged out David Beckham superfan Rebecca Loos for the third spot.

2005: George Best. Source: www.1001experiencias.com
2005: George Best. Source: www.1001experiencias.com


In 2005, Gmail, Bebo and Google Earth were the top trending topics, while the “what is” list wrestled with big questions like “what is creativity” before going back to technical queries: VOIP, BitTorrent and J2EE. There were hints of economic concerns, with users asking about counseling, marketing and equity.

Trending people included sports figures George Best and Roy Keane, as well as Pope Benedict and Kate Moss. Future “James Bond” star Daniel Craig just made the top ten in the last slot.

2006: Bebo
2006: Bebo was Ireland's dominant social media network.


In 2006, the social media craze was in full swing in Ireland, with Bebo heading the “what is” and trending search lists. Irish people were focused on social and health issues, with Psychology, Scientology, MS and ADHD all making the top ten “what is” list.

Eager to delve into the world’s untapped treasure trove of cat videos and spaghetti-flinging babies, Irish googlers made YouTube the second-most searched topic, followed by World Cup, reality show “Celebrity Love Island” and the Ryder Cup. Australian wildlife expert Steve Irwin’s tragic death topped the People searches, followed by Richard Hammond (who survived a race car crash), Zinedine “Red Card” Zidane and Irish comedienne Twink.

2007: Anna Nicole Smith. Source: cbsnews.com
2007: Anna Nicole Smith. Source: cbsnews.com


By 2007, the Irish were old hands at the social media lark, with Skype topping the “what is” search list and new kid on the block Facebook making an appearance in the search terms list. The Big Questions still preoccupied the populace, with queries like “what is strategy” and “what is communication” near the top of the list. Reflecting the Celtic Tiger burnout, many people asked “what is work?” and “what is philosophy?”

People searches were largely somber, with the deaths of Irish model Katy French, Luciano Pavarotti, Chris Benoit and Anna Nicole Smith, and the disappearance of toddler Madeleine McCann all making the top ten.

2008: Presidential candidate Barack Obama. Source: Google Images
2008: Presidential candidate Barack Obama. Source: Google Images


By 2008, the world economy was headed for a meltdown, and there are a few  hints in the top Irish search queries. While the JJ Abrams monster movie “Cloverfield” tops the list, it is followed by questions about stress and sociology, PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance) and FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods).