How to get IR-receive to work?

I try to make IR reciever work on RPI3, not plus. i have tried plenty of tutorials but none so far has worked.
It seems to be a real mess with kernels and distroversions needing different approaches too..

The hardware works fine, a small pythonscript that reflects the ir reciever on a led, makes the led flash as expected when a remote is used.

So, i dont know what else to do now?

Ubuntu 18.04.5 LTS (GNU/Linux 4.15.0-1074-raspi2 armv7l)

The RPI3 homeserver, is hidden in a shell from a 70s clockradio

Is there a list of different kernels and how to make IR work on each one? or do i need to change to a different kernel because this version is broken?

Or is it safe and reliable to make lirc work without depending on the kernel ? like using the one from ubuntu 16.04 release?