As a kid growing up in Australia in the 1960s and 70s I routinely heard
Irish jokes in the schoolyard. They were often pretty funny ... but none of
us knew why the Irish (as opposed to some other group) were the brunt of
these jokes. My guess is that if I'd heard the same jokes during the 1920s -
a time of intense sectarianism in Australia - I would have been profoundly
aware why the Irish (and by association Catholics) were the focus of
ridicule. In the 1990s the Irish joke persists in Oz, though not as
prominently as in my youth.
My thread, then, is the varied (and changing) contexts in which Irish jokes
have been 'popular'. For example, has the Irish joke been a feature of the
American comedy scene and 'bar culture'? My understanding is that Polish
immigrants to America have been the main focus for ridicule. What about
Scotland, England, Wales, Canada, etc ... how have the Irish (and perhaps
Celtic peoples generally) been represented in terms of (social and
political) satire? Surely someone must have written a piece on this.