The Irish Times most-read of 2018: Top 50 dominated by weather, Trump and abortion

Death of Dolores O’Riordan, Belfast trial and the Ann Lovette story also in Top 50 list

May 25, 2018 | In 1983, the Eighth Amendment was added to Ireland's constitution, banning abortion. Today, 35 years on, voters decide to retain or repeal. Video: Kathleen Harris


In a year dominated by extreme weather events, the Trump presidency, Brexit and Ireland’s historic abortion referendum, two Irish Times articles stood out from the list of the 50 most-read in 2018.

The article revealing that Ireland had voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which had effectively banned abortions in Ireland, was read more than 1.1 million times, making it the most-read online story in the history of The Irish Times at the time.

Based on exit poll data, Political Editor Pat Leahy’s report was published at 10.01pm on Friday, May 25th, just after polls closed in the landmark vote. It projected that Ireland had voted by a two-to-one majority to liberalise the Republic’s abortion laws, described in the headline as a landslide victory.

It was one of three articles that gained more than one million page views during 2018. The most-read article in 2018 was Fintan O’Toole’s opinion column “Trial runs for fascism are in full flow”. Published 5am on Tuesday, June 26th, the article examined the Trump presidency observing: “The blooding process has begun within the democratic world. The muscles that the propaganda machines need for defending the indefensible are being toned up. Millions and millions of Europeans and Americans are learning to think the unthinkable.”

Read the top 50 stories of 2018 here

The article was read across the globe, surpassing the abortion vote story to became the most-read Irish Times story with 1.34 million page views (and growing).

Some 52 per cent of the traffic was referred from Facebook. Almost half of the page views on the article came from the United States and 16 per cent from the United Kingdom, while the article was read in virtually every country in the world including Madagascar, Cook Islands, Angola, Sudan, Mali, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Andorra, South Sudan, Vanuatu, Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba, Tonga, Guinea and even a handful in North Korea.

The second most read story of the year, Tara Brady’s one-star film review of Fifty Shades Free, gained steady page views after it was published in February. Owing to a internet quirk, the article attracted large referrals from Google searches, predominantly from outside Ireland.

Ronan McGreevy’s report on the death of Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan was the fourth most read story in 2018, followed by a background piece by Conor Gallagher on the Belfast rape trial and the long-read article “I was Ann Lovett’s boyfriend” by 2018 Journalist of the Year Rosita Boland.

The top 50 list of most read articles featured nine articles on the weather in a year that saw both record levels of snow and a heatwave that brought sustained high temperatures not seen in a generation.

Here is a list of the top 50 stories of 2018. Read the stories here.

  1. Fintan O’Toole: Trial runs for fascism are in full flow
  2. Fifty Shades Freed: The safe-word is bored
  3. Irish Times exit poll projects Ireland has voted by landslide to repeal Eighth Amendment
  4. Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan dies at age of 46
  5. Inside Court 12: the complete story of the Belfast rape trial
  6. I was Ann Lovett’s boyfriend
  7. Met Éireann issues red weather alert and warns of 25cm of snow
  8. Belfast rape trial juror’s online comments are referred to AG
  9. English ignorance about Ireland just isn’t funny anymore
  10. Taxi driver tells rugby players’ rape trial he collected ‘crying and sobbing’ woman
  11. ‘Embarrassing’ Trump told Ireland is not part of UK
  12. Video reveals how sex buyers view women trafficked into Ireland
  13. Chuck Feeney: the billionaire who gave it all away
  14. ‘Two pronged’ weather attack to bring convective snow
  15. Dozens hospitalised after Ryanair flight from Dublin makes emergency landing
  16. ‘Beast from the east’ could see country’s heaviest snowfall since 1982
  17. Purse belonging to missing Jastine Valdez found at Dublin golf club
  18. Belfast rape trial jury continues deliberations
  19. Lidl in Dublin looted and smashed on Friday night
  20. Graphic description of alleged rape by rugby players heard in court
  21. Fintan O’Toole: Historians will not believe sheer ignorance of Brexit supporters
  22. Storm Callum forecast to bring heavy rain and winds
  23. Budget 2019: The main points
  24. The Big Snow of 1982: When Ireland came to a standstill
  25. Porn, sexting and rape: We need to talk about sex
    Read the top 50 stories of 2018 here
  26. Freddie Mercury: Bohemian Rhapsody is no tribute. It’s full of unconscious homophobia
  27. Catherine Cleary: My worst ever meal as a restaurant reviewer
  28. Ireland now ‘the best team in the world’: the New Zealand press react
  29. Abortion vote: Early indications show high turnout rate
  30. Weekend snow forecast as motorists advised to take care
  31. Two teenage boys interviewed over murder of Ana Kriegel
  32. Ireland has ‘undermined Britain for over 100 years’
  33. Body of teenager Elisha Gault found after lengthy search
  34. ‘My only regret is that I have to leave now’ – Emma Hannigan in her own words
  35. ‘On New Year’s Day my brother, like too many young men, decided this world was not for him’
  36. Ann Lovett: Death of a ‘strong, kick-ass girl’
  37. Unlikely that Vladimir Putin behind Skripal poisoning
  38. Crowds expected to pay respect to O’Riordan on Sunday
  39. Storm Emma: Thousands without power as red alert extended
  40. I moved back to Ireland, but found no official ‘welcome home’
  41. Two male teenagers arrested over murder of Ana Kriegel
  42. The Pope’s visit to Ireland: here is everything you need to know
  43. Woman goes public with rape claim against Ronaldo
  44. A Ballaghaderreen solicitor’s spectacular fall from grace
  45. Go back to Dublin with yourself Dermot Bannon. We’re grand here in the dark
  46. Red weather alert extended to entire State as blizzard expected to bring 40cm of snow
  47. Shane MacGowan’s birthday party leaves brown eyes streaming
  48. Aisling McDermott, writer and founder of, has died
  49. ‘I’ll just look like a stupid little girl’ - court hears about alleged rape victim’s texts
  50. Anti-abortion posters fail to take account of life
    Read the top 50 stories of 2018 here