Irish mockers of the Irish

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Aug 2 15:18:06 UTC 2010

At 8/2/2010 08:36 AM, Robin Hamilton wrote:
>>[I wrote:]  An Irish joke? Like bread for left and cheese for right.
>Probably not (if by "Irish Joke", you mean one drawing on the alleged ethnic
>characteristics of the Irish, such as, "How many Irishmen does it take to
>change a lightbulb?" which later mutated into "How many Provos does it ...?"
>and in singularly twisted form, "How do members of Continuity IRA change a
>lightbulb?" -- OK, I made up the bit about the Continuity [also known as the
>Real] IRA, but then ...).
>Brendan Behan was himself Irish, so would be unlikely to mock his own.

Really?  Do (did) not many Irish playwrights (and
other writers) mock their own?  Swift, Richard
Brinsley Sheridan, Congreve (or perhaps they only
mocked the English, Scots, and Welsh?), Synge,
Shaw, Wilde, O'Casey, Brian Friel, Martin McDonagh, ...?


>A Irish version of "To dumb to ...," I'd guess.  The grandperson of these, now
>a cliché, is: "Too dumb to organise a piss up in a brewery.
>At 8/1/2010 10:38 PM, George Thompson wrote:
>>There is a put-down that I think
>>I saw in Brendan Behan's Borstal Boy, that someone was too dumb to pour
>>sand out of a boot, even if the instructions were printed on the heel.

The American Dialect Society -

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