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Joyce Family

joyce_largeThe Joyce family were of English origin, arriving in Ireland in the reign of Edward I, going on they seize large tracts of land in the Barony of Ross; an area subsequently known as the Joyce Country.

Another of the Tribes of Galway, they had seats in Mervue, Woodquay as well as parts of County Mayo.

This old Galway family is of English descent, and was allied to the Welch and British princes Thomas Joyes. Thomas Joyes was the first of the name that came to Ireland, when he sailed from Wales in the reign of Edward I.

He arrived with his fleet at Thomond in Munster.  He married Onorah O’Brien, daughter of the chief of that district; from thence, putting to sea, he directed his course to the western part of Connaught. There he acquired considerable tracts of territory, which his descendants still inhabit.

While on the voyage, his wife gave birth to a son, whom he named Mac Mara, son of the sea. He extended his father’s acquisitions, and from him descended the sept of the Joyces. They were a race of men remarkable for their extraordinary stature, who, for centuries past inhabited the mountainous district, in Iar Connaught, called, from them, Duthaidh Sheodhoigh, or Joyce Country. This now forms the barony of Ross, in County Galway, and for which they were formerly tributary to the O’Flaherties.

Walter Jorse, Jorze or Joyce, brother of Thomas, Cardinal of Sabina, was Archbishop of Armagh. He resigned in 1311, and was succeeded by his brother Roland. The former was confessor to Edward II. and was author of several works. 

The families of Joyce flourished through-out County Galway, Foxford in Mayo, and Woodquay in Galway City. The family was also prominent in Mervue, near Galway City.