And the top IrishCentral stories of 2013 were...envelope please!


It was a good year. In 2013, IrishCentral reached 2 million unique visitors a month, doubling the 2012 milestone of 1 million uniques. So what are our almost 70,000 daily readers interested in?

If the most popular articles of 2013 are any indication, heritage and roots rank high, with explorations of top family names, the ‘Black Irish,’ and the potential origins of Celtic red hair among the most read.

The relative attractiveness and unattractiveness of Irish women and men, and the world-ranking sexiness of the Irish accent, sparked some debate, as did the question of the best places to visit in Ireland.

Two lonely Irishmen captured readers’ attention: Barry Edgar Pilcher, the last resident of the Donegal island of Inishfree, at the start of the year, and James Gray, the London-based pensioner who took out a heartbreaking advert for company on Christmas, at the close.

The most compelling news items included a tragic discovery in Phibsboro, Hillary Clinton’s health scare, the secret wedding of Pierce Brosnan’s late daughter, and the discovery of a photo of Michael Collins taken just hours before his death:

Here they are:

1. The top 100 Irish last names explained

IrishCentral brings you the low down on the top 100 most common Irish surnames with a little explanation of where these names come from. Whether you're looking to trace your family crest or trying to trace your family roots this list will point you in the right direction...

From Murphy to O'Connell we've got your Irish roots covered with the top 100 most common Irish surnames

2. Son devastated as father missing for four years is found in abandoned house

The four year ordeal of an Irish family torn apart by grief over their missing father has come to an end...

Darren, and his son Sean. Son is distraught that his father's body lady in an abandoned house for four years

3. The top ten places to visit in Ireland

From the windswept Cliffs of Moher to the rain-soaked Aran Islands, there are a number of sites that no trip to Ireland is complete without...

Take a virtual tour of the natural wonder the Giant's Causeway, in County Antrim, with CIE Tours

4. Hillary’s serious illness changes everything in 2016 presidential race

Though she has been released from hospital after treatment for her blood clot Hillary Clinton’s political future has changed dramatically...

Director of the CNN documentary on Hillary Clinton, says he was stonewalled by Democrats and Republicans in trying to make the movie

5. Who were the 'Black Irish' and what is their story?

The term 'Black Irish' has commonly been in circulation among Irish emigrants and their descendants for centuries. As a subject of historical discussion the subject is almost never referred to in Ireland. There are a number of different claims as to the origin of the term, none of which are possible to prove or disprove...

Emigrants at the quayside in Cork, 1851, surrounded by their baggage

6. Pierce Brosnan’s daughter married days before cancer claimed her life.

Pierce Brosnan’s daughter Charlotte Brosnan secretly wed her long-term artist boyfriend Alex Smith just days before dying of ovarian cancer...

Charlotte and her husband Alex Smith at the Cartier International Polo in 2006

7. Irish women voted among the hottest in the world
Irish women are among some of the best looking in the world, according to the latest ranking by an international dating website. Despite the success of Irish females, Irish men were ranked as the globe's third ugliest...

We are a force to be reckoned with but you American guys might need a helping hand when it comes to dating Irish women

8. The Irish accent voted sexiest in the world, over French

It's official! Thanks in no small part to Colin Farrell, the Irish accent is now the sexiest in the world...

Ooh la la! Ireland beats France for sexiest accent thanks to Colin Farrell

9. Loneliest man in Ireland leaves deserted island after twenty years

Ireland’s loneliest man has said he is moving back to England this year after 20 years on the Co. Donegal island of Inishfree...

Barry Pilcher heads home to England after living by himself on the island of Inishfree for 20 years

10. Celts’ stereotypical red hair could be attributed to the cloudy weather

Scottish research has found that the Celts flaming red hair can be put down to the weather. With ten percent in Ireland and 13 percent of people in Scotland boasting of glorious red hair, there could be something to it...

Scientist believe the "ginger gene" evolved 50,000 years ago when humans moved north from Africa to Europe

11. A picture of Michael Collins just hours before his death is discovered

A remarkable photo of Michael Collins taken just hours before his death has been uncovered in an attic...

The image, taken in August 1922, shows the Irish revolutionary leader, Michael Collins, in the back of a car, he was shot at  at the village of Béal na Bláth, Cork

12. Irish pensioner, 85, desperate for company at Christmas, places advert

A London-based Irish pensioner faced his tenth Christmas alone before taking positive action to ensure he would not be alone again this Christmas Day...

Pensioner James Gray found joy in having company at Christmas.

13. Top ten Irish phrases and what they really mean

May the road rise to meet you - From the Gaelic, "Go N-eiri an bothar leat," which means may success be with you...

 An insight into Irish sayings like "Top of the Morning"...a made up Hollywood phrase you should avoid using with actual Irish people