THIS was a record year for the Limerick Leader online, hitting a million views in a month for the first time one day short of October’s end on LimerickLeader.ie.
This figure was further surpassed in November, a sign that more and more readers are availing of our comprehensive, 24-hour online offering.
The stats don’t lie and are driven in this case by top stories, across a range of subjects, by our superb team of journalists.
Breaking news and in-depth features, letters to the editor and tributes to those who passed away throughout the year all feature.
Bruce Springsteen’s appearance in Thomond Park is on the list of top stories from 2013, as are some quirky stories from the pen of reporter Donal O’Regan - a topless brawl in Doon among the most popular read online this year.
In June the Leader reported that two women were arrested by gardai following a “topless brawl in front of children” on Monastery Road, near Coonagh Court housing estate.
One eye-witness told the Leader that it was like watching wrestling on television.
“It was surreal, completely unbelievable. They just went at each other. Biting, scratching, pulling hair, kicking, everything, you name it.”
One man well used to wrestling matches on the rugby pitch is Jerry Flannery, who featured in two of the top stories of the year that drove traffic to the website.
These resulted from an incident in August when an unknown person or persons tampered with traffic signs outside the former Munster and Irish rugby star’s pub on Catherine Street to read ‘Red Light District’ - thought to be an attempt to highlight the issue of issue of prostitution in the city.
Contacted by this reporter to canvas his opinion on the stunt, the publican suggested, tongue firmly planted in cheek, that if men improved their social skills, washed regularly and bought some new clothes “then they may not have to pay for sex” from prostitutes, an interesting take on the situation that made headline news around the country in the days afterward.
Emerging details in October of Martinstown tycoon’s JP McManus construction of a €150m Barbados mansion was a huge hit, the county Limerick millionaire building what was described as the “ultimate beach hideaway on one of the world’s most exclusive stretches of coastline”.
Earlier in the year, in March, the Leader reported that a number of students from Colaiste Chiarain secondary school in Croom had been suspended for liking an “explicit” post on Facebook, a story that ran and ran and raised the issue of cyberbullying at the highest political levels.
Communities in mourning over two tragic deaths were among the biggest stories of the year - that of tragic teen Chloe Kinsella from Kileely and young school teacher Alan Feeley, who died suddenly following a brain haemorrhage.
Mr Feeley, originally from Claremorris in Co Mayo, had been teaching in Scoil na Tríonóide Naofa in Doon for the last five years.
Sadly, the 28-year-old collapsed while he was training in the gym in the University of Limerick in November.
The principal of the Doon school led the tributes to the Old Crescent thirds’ rugby player: “It doesn’t make sense... He was without doubt an inspirational young man, hardworking, a fabulous teacher and excellent athlete and sportsman.”
Tributes were also paid to 15 year old Chloe Kinsella, who was laid to rest in October.
Church curate Fr Pat Seaver said in his homily in St Munchin’s Church, where the Thomondgate community had gathered: “We do not want to see any more tragedies. Life is for living - especially for young people. Especially for 15-year-olds.”
Two figures from Limerick GAA also feature in the list of most popular stories - former Limerick football goalkeeper Seamus O’Donnell who spoke to Jerome O’Connell in November about his battle with depression, and Bruree hurler Stephen O’Halloran, for whom sporting clubs across Limerick rallied behind to support in his own cancer battle.
The instantly identifiable O’Donnell poignantly said he was going public with his battle with depression, “not for the sympathy vote” but in the hope that he might “maybe help one person who reads this”.
Stay with us on LimerickLeader.ie. in 2014.
Top stories of the year on LimerickLeader.ie:
- Emotional tributes paid to Doon teacher who died suddenly
- Dog lured to its death by University of Limerick students in drunken game
- November 16: Newly qualified nurses are getting a raw deal - Letters
- Topless brawl horrifies locals in quiet County Limerick village
- Chloe Kinsella is laid to rest in Limerick
- Limerick rallies for star hurler Stephen in cancer battle
- Limerick GAA star - ‘My battle with depression’
- Limerick signs changed to read ‘Red Light District’
- Sadness as ‘talented’ Shellie Murtagh passes away
- Limerick rocks to Bruce Springsteen
- Jerry Flannery offers ‘advice’ to men paying for sex
- JP McManus’ €150m Barbados mansion almost complete
- Limerick students suspended for ‘explicit’ Facebook post
- Skeletal remains found in Limerick city