Published on March 10th, 2017 | by Padraic Coffey


Jimmy Carr witnessed anti-Irish prejudice growing up

Comedian Jimmy Carr has revealed how he witnessed anti-Irish prejudice towards his mother while growing up in Slough in the 1970s.

Carr, whose parents hailed from Limerick, Ireland, was born in London in 1972, and grew up in Slough, Berkshire. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs on 5 March 2017, Carr told presenter Kirsty Young that he had a sense of his family being different from others, owing to his parents’ nationality:

“I go back to Ireland a lot and play a lot of gigs over there. I’m quite proud. I’ve got an Irish passport. When I was growing up I was very aware of being in an immigrant family.”

“I really clearly remember an incident of someone saying something racist to my mum in a newsagent’s when there was some IRA bombing or something. Someone said something very negative to my mum. [I remember] feeling like, ‘Oh, are we not like everyone else?’.”

During the 1970s, the Provisional IRA, an armed militant group whose stated aim was a unified Ireland, carried out a series of bombings in England, as well as Northern Ireland. The deadliest of these were the Birmingham pub bombings of 1974, in which 21 civilians were killed, and 182 injured.

Recalling the incident in which his mother was verbally harassed, and the wider implications of being a second-generation immigrant, Carr said

“On the one hand, that’s a negative thing. And on the other hand, it makes you feel very special.”

Carr is one of the most successful comedians in Britain, having released eight full-length shows on DVD since 2004, as well as a Netflix special in 2016.


About the Author

Padraic Coffey is a freelance writer and film critic who currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. He has written for the Sunday Independent, Ireland's largest circulation newspaper, and Trinity College, Dublin, ranked in the top 100 best universities in the world by the QS World University Rankings in 2014. Additionally, his film criticism has appeared on Volta - Ireland's first VOD website - as well as sites such as Taste of Cinema, Film Jam and Head Stuff.

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