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The most-read stories of 2023: From the deaths of Irish musical heroes to riots in the capital

IT Sunday: Death of Sinéad O’Connor, Storm Debi and RTÉ pay scandal were just some of the stories to hold readers’ attention this year


Welcome to this week’s IT Sunday, a selection of the best Irish Times journalism for our subscribers.

As the year draws to a close, we look back at the list of the top-read articles on in 2023. The list cuts across the usual mix of topics that would not normally accompany one another in any other scenario. The array of national incidents and preoccupations – the Dublin Riots and the RTÉ pay controversy chief among them this year – sit beside major weather events, and stories of unspeakable personal tragedy that can quickly grab the attention of a nation.

What’s perhaps less typical about this year is that the most-read story does not come as a surprise to those working in Irish newsrooms in 2023. The outpouring of public grief following the news, in July, of Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor’s death aged 56, surely denoted the magnitude of shock and dismay felt by people in Ireland and abroad. Millions of people read the news story online and it became the most-read article on in 2023. Moreover, it is the most-read article ever published on the website.

The top 10 the articles by pageviews across all sections on in 2023 were:



Crime stories, as is common in reviews like these, are generally well-represented on the longlist of news stories that were most-read by readers this year. November’s riots in Dublin did not arrive too late to make a mark on this section’s list: two of the five top-read news stories were about the unrest on the capital’s streets following the stabbing of a number of people, including children, on Parnell Street earlier that day.

The most-read piece in News was the live coverage of the unrest on the night of Thursday, November 23rd - Dublin riots: Violent clashes with gardaí and vehicles set alight after children injured in knife attack. The live coverage of the fallout the following day was the third-most-read article in the news section this year.


In October, newsrooms around the world began covering a devastating story that would become a mainstay on foreign pages for the remainder of the year. The Israel-Hamas conflict emerges a number of times in the most read World stories, including the top-read story: Irish-Israeli girl Emily Hand freed by Hamas after 50 days of captivity in Gaza.


The Opinion section included topics that themselves clung stubbornly to news sites’ homepages for weeks at a time throughout the year. Ultimately, it would be Fintan O’Toole’s take on the ongoing Enoch Burke saga and the ideology backing the former teacher’s stance amid the controversy at Wilson’s Hospital School in Westmeath that became the most-read Opinion piece of the year.


While the longlist of the most-read stories in the Sport section this year is dotted throughout with world cup pieces – both rugby and soccer – as one might expect, none claimed the top spot, nor any of the top three. GAA, it appears, won the day. In 2023, our live coverage of the All-Ireland Football Final between Dublin and Kerry was the most-read story in the Sport section. You can relive the action here: FT Dublin 1-15 Kerry 1-13: Dubs finish in style to edge All-Ireland football final. The football quarter final between Armagh and Monaghan, and Limerick’s victory over Kilkenny in the hurling final, were another two live stories to make the top 10.


Unsurprisingly, several pieces about the late Dublin singer Sinéad O’Connor were well-read in the Culture section following the news of her death in July. These included the news story mentioned at the top of this article, as well as a piece covering details of events held in Dublin and London as tributes poured in (number 10). Another well-read article on the longlist was by Ryan Tubridy, at number 12: Sinéad O’Connor by Ryan Tubridy: ‘She was rock’n’roll. I was the opposite’. Articles following the deaths of Christy Dignam and Shane MacGowan were also among the most read articles in the Culture section.


Budget 2024 took the first and second spot in the business section this year. By some distance, the round-up of the main points following Budget 2024 was the most-read article. From changes for welfare recipients and pensioners, to the price of a pint, this breakdown by Jack Horgan-Jones covered all of the angles and was popular among readers. The next piece on the list was our live coverage of the budget announcement on the day.


While the budget is a story that lives mostly in Business, it can cut across a number of sections – as is the case in the top-read story in the Politics section this year. The political story with the most reads, written in October by Jennifer Bray and Harry McGee, revealed the timetable one-off cost-of-living supplements that had been announced the week before.


Brianna Parkins wrote about airports – or rather, how humans behave in them – in April, and the piece became the most-read article in the Life & Style section in 2023. In particular, Parkins highlighted the usefulness of the Airport Mammy, “the assigned middle-aged Irish woman who appears when you most need her to sort things out when an airline has done you a dirty deed and doesn’t seem to care”.


The enduring popularity of health advice columns among readers can’t be understated. This year, as in any previous year this writer can recall, a good number of articles concerning reader queries to our writers form a large chunk of the most-read list in the Health section. The top article this year, by quite a wide margin, concerned a reader having trouble with their relationship. The query to Trish Murphy concludes: “We sleep in different rooms, haven’t had sex in four years and we bicker and fight about little and big issues. Communication has broken down completely and we are both numb. I’m tempted to do casual dating and meet men to feel alive and happier. What should I do?”


Celebrity chef Richard Corrigan’s restaurant, The Park Café, in Ballsbridge opened to rave reviews at the end of 2022, but within weeks the Ballsbridge premises was losing staff. That story was the most-read article in the food section this year: ‘Regrettable’ staff departures from ‘high octane’ new Corrigan restaurant in Dublin 4. More recently, it was announced the restaurant would close at the end of this year.

You can find the full list of our most read stories across each of the sections outlined above here.

As always, there is much more on, including rundowns of all the latest movies in our film reviews, tips for the best restaurants in our food section and all the latest in sport. There are plenty more articles exclusively available for Irish Times subscribers here.

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We wish you a very happy and peaceful Christmas.