The general malaise felt by the Irish public was reflected in how it searched Google News over the past 12 months.

The search engine giant released its annual list of most-searched terms, and the results from Ireland were rather dark and gloomy.

In a year where the economy tanked and the land literally flooded, it comes as no surprise that swine flu gripped the curiosity of Irish Google news users the most, as, in fact, it did around the world

Indeed, in this year of biblical collapses on so many fronts, why wouldn’t a deadly disease top the search engine charts!

After the Irish public’s interest in the H1N1 virus came a morbid fascination in those no longer with us, with searches for the late Irish singer Stephen Gately, reality star Jade Goody and the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, next on the popularity stakes.

Interestingly enough, it was not all doom and gloom for computing Hibernians, who went goo-goo for Lady Gaga photos and were blood thirsty for images from the Twilight movies.

The Irish were also on the prowl for jobs as the FAS (the Irish government run job agency) employment program broke into the top ten keyword searches in the Emerald Isle.

The Irish were also fascinated with social networking sites, with Facebook coming in first in Ireland followed by Yahoo e-mail, and a Google spokesperson confirmed this was reflecting a trend across the globe, where Facebook was first, followed by Twitter and Tuenti.

She added: “On Google News, Ireland was mainly concerned about the threat of swine flu and the death of celebrities including Stephen Gately and Michael Jackson.”

So to sum up, it’s deadly disease, dead people, eccentric pop stars, vampires and job hunting that have captured the imagination and computer time of the Irish in 2009!