What do we search for? Phil Hogan and twerking, apparently

Irish Google users fascinated by Miley, Paul Walker and a New Mexico crystal meth dealer

What links Miley Cyrus, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, twerking and a crystal meth dealer from New Mexico?

All four have appeared at the top of their respective categories in the Google Zeitgeist, which has just been published.

Each December, Google releases a detailed list of the most popular search terms among Irish Internet users and, as with previous years, its self-styled Zeitgeist throws up some surprises.

The most popular search in Ireland this year - and the man who also finished top of the people category - was Paul Walker, the Fast and Furious actor who died in car crash in Los Angeles earlier this month.


Irish mixed martial artist Conor McGregor was the most searched for sports personality on the Google lists, followed by Gareth Bale and Oscar Pistorious.

The top trending artist was Miley Cyrus. The question Irish people most wanted to know the answer to was not “What it the meaning of life?” or “What is love? - that was number three.

No, the most pressing question Irish people needed Google to answer this year was ‘what is twerking?’

Other words and terms that people sought help understanding were catfish, squinch and Grumpy Cat - it’s a cat, who is grumpy.

Another key interest of Irish people this year was “Property tax”. People mainly wanted to know when and how much they would have to pay it. Which explains the presence of Phil Hogan on the list.

Ryanair, Trivago, Royal Baby and Eurovision 2013 all joined it into the top ten most popular search terms of 2013.

It's only available on Netflix and through some digital channels, but Breaking Bad, the story of a chemistry school teacher who turns to a life of crime when he is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer, topped the most popular TV shows searched on Google.

The Eurovision song contest is a perennial on the Google lists and this year was no exception, while Love/Hate and the Rose of Tralee were also up there.

Mick Wallace's eventful year - he met Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, saw his construction company go into receivership and was caught by a Garda driving while using his mobile phone but spared penalty points - saw him finish just behind Big Phil in the most searched for politicians list.

The Google lists are dominated by people who died. Popular searches included South Africa's Nelson Mandela, former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Glee star Cory Monteith and James Gandolfini, who is best known for playing the role of Tony in The Sopranos.

Closer to home, Kerry teenager Donal Walsh also made the list after he rose to national prominence after writing to a national newspaper while battling cancer. His call for an end to the suicide epidemic among Irish young people and his plea with them to appreciate life more struck a chord with the nation. He died in the spring.

Top Trending Searches 1. Paul Walker 2. Ryanair.ie 3. Cory Monteith 4. Trivago 5. Property Tax 6. Royal Baby 7. Oscar Pistorius 8. Eurovision 2013 9. Nelson Mandela 10. Oxegen 2013

Top Trending People 1. Paul Walker 2. Cory Monteith 3. Oscar Pistorius 4. Nelson Mandela 5. Margaret Thatcher 6. Nigella Lawson 7. James Gandolfini 8. Pope Francis 9. Amanda Bynes 10. Donal Walsh

Top Trending TV Shows 1. Breaking Bad 2. Game of Thrones 3. Eurovision 2013 4. Big Brother 2013 5. X Factor 2013 6. Operation Transformation 2013 7. Rose of Tralee 8. Love/Hate 9. Britain's Got Talent 10. I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here

Top Trending Sports Personalities 1. Conor McGregor 2. Gareth Bale 3. Oscar Pistorius 4. Alex Ferguson 5. David Moyes 6. Niall Donoghue 7. Mesut Ozil 8. Willian 9. Thiago Alcantara 10. Wayne Rooney

Trending Sports Teams 1. Lions 2. Arsenal 3. Dublin GAA 4. Spurs 5. Cork City FC 6. Liverpool FC 7. Celtic FC 8. Derry City FC 9. Clare Hurling GAA team 10. Drogheda United Top

Trending Words 1. Snapchat 2. Harlem Shake 3. Catfish 4. Twerking 5. Grumpy Cat 6. Selfie 7. Photobombing 8. Squinch 9. Whovian 10. Workation Top Trending

What is...? 1. What is twerking 2. What is love 3. What is anxiety 4. What is gluten 5. What is illuminati 6. What is gout 7. What is fracking 8. What is autism 9. What is cilantro 10. What is lupus

Trending Cities 1. Moscow, Russia 2. Amsterdam, Netherlands 3. Prague, Czech Republic 4. Rome, Italy 5. Istanbul, Turkey 6. Venice, Italy 7. Berlin, Germany 8. Paris, France 9. Barcelona, Spain 10. London, UK

Trending Politicians 1. Phil Hogan 2. Enda Kenny 3. Mick Wallace 4. James Reilly 5. Leo Varadkar 6. Ruairi Quinn 7. Frances Fitzgerald 8. Michael Martin 9. Simon Coveney 10. Joan Burton

Trending Artists 1. Miley Cyrus 2. One Direction 3. Macklemore 4. Kodaline 5. Robin Thicke 6. Taylor Swift 7. Lorde 8. Bonnie Tyler 9. Cher 10. Katy Perry

Trending Movies 1. Les Misérables 2. Man of Steel 3. Django Unchained 4. World War Z 5. The Conjuring 6. The Impossible 7. Iron Man 3 8. Wreck it Ralph 9. Pacific Rim 10. Zero Dark Thirty Top

Trending Events 1. Oxegen 2. Electric Picnic 3. Longitude 4. Glastonbury 5. Flightfest 6. Rose of Tralee 7. Cork Jazz Festival 8. Ploughing Championships 9. Galway Oyster Festival 10. Wexford Opera Festival Top

Trending Gadgets 1. PS4 2. Samsung Galaxy S4 3. iPhone 5S 4. Xbox One 5. HTC One 6. Google Glass 7. iPad Air 8. Samsung Note 9. Google Nexus 5 10. Galaxy Gear

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast