Rev Patrick Woulfe

SEÓIGH—VIII or XII—Sheoye, Shoye, Joie, Joye, Joy, Joyce; 'son of Joy' (probably a Norman personal name—Joie, Joye—corresponding to the Latin Letitia; but possibly merely a descriptive epithet bestowed on one of a joyous disposition). As a surname, it is of record in Ireland since the end of the 12th century, when the family seems to have come hither from Wales, and by the 16th century had become very widespread. The Joyces of Galway, according to Hardiman (History of Galway, pp. 14-15), came from Wales in the reign of Edward I. They acquired considerable tracts of territory in the mountainous district of Iar-Connacht, called from them Duthaigh Seoghach, or the Joyce Country, now forming the barony of Ross, in Co. Galway, where they are still very numerous. They were, according to Hardiman, a race of men remarkable for their extraordinary stature. The surname is now almost everywhere anglicised Joyce. Joy, the correct rendering, is almost peculiar to Kerry. Compare with Seóghas above.

Alphabetical Index to Irish Surnames