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PW Joyce sitting with his wife Carolyn Joyce in front of a dinner table with food and drink on it.

Patrick Weston Joyce (1827–1914)

Patrick Weston Joyce was born the son of Garret Joyce, a scholarly shoemaker, and Elizabeth Dwyer in the Ballyhoura hills on the borders of south-east Limerick and north Cork. One of a Catholic family of eight children, he was reared in the nearby townland of Glenosheen, Kilmallock, Co Limerick, and educated at first in local hedge schools.

“I spent all my early life in a part of the county Limerick where music, singing and dancing were favourite amusements. My home… was a home of music and song: they were in the air of the valley; you heard them everywhere – sung, played, whistled; and they were mixed up with the people’s pastimes, occupations, and daily life. Though we had pipers, fiddlers, fifers, whistlers, and singers of our own, wandering musicians were welcomed: and from every one some choice air or song that struck our fancy was pretty sure to be learned and stored up… As I loved the graceful music of the people from my childhood, their songs, dance tunes, keens, and lullabies remained in my memory, almost without any effort of my own… I had indeed excellent opportunities; for my father's memory was richly stored with popular melodies and songs; and I believe that he never sang or played a tune that I did not learn.”

PW Joyce
PW Joyce, collector / unidentified photographer