The Site

Michael Joyce Memorial Plyground

We encourage you to visit the site at Marine Park at the corner of Farragut Street and Wm J. Day Blvd. in South Boston.

The Joyce Memorial Playground

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Help Us Remember Mike

Contribute today and help us build a fitting memorial for Mike: a man who continues to teach us the true meaning of life—people helping people.

Donate to the Joyce Memorial Fund

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Other articles

Other articles

Mike Joyce, A Biographical Sketch
From May 14,1987

His Heart was an open door
by Mike Barnicle,
The Boston Globe, Tuesday, November 14, 1989

Dream into law
An act designating a playground at the Marine Park in South Boston as the Michael Joyce Memorial Playground

Mike Joyce, A Biographical Sketch

back to News

While there are many people in the New England community who have worked tirelessly on behalf of the Irish, no name is better recognized, or more respected than Mike Joyce. He has effectively helped thousands of Irish... and non-Irish...immigrants through the process of entering and remaining in the United States.

Michael Joyce was born in the village of Bealadaingan, County Galway. At an early age, he joined the Irish Army where his natural athletic abilities were soon directed to the manly art of boxing.

As a member of the famed Cead Cath (1st Battalion), the only all-Gaelic speaking Battalion in the Irish Army, he went on to win in quick succession both the Battalion Championship and the all- Army Lightweight Championship.

In 1948, he married his childhood sweetheart, Theresa Halebert, of the renowned hurling family from Ballindereen, County Galway.

In 1949, he won the much coveted Lightweight Boxing Championship of Connaught. Later that same year, he would emigrate to the United States. On securing a job as a waiter at Purcell’s on School Street in Boston, he sent for and was joined by his wife and 1 year old baby, Mary. Their second child, Christina, was born on Christmas day, their first Christmas in the United States. Mike’s friendly manner and professional service endeared him to the many patrons at Purcell’s. Here he began to meet people from all levels of government. Indeed, it was Mike’s ability to relate to people from all walks of life that soon had him giving advice to fellow Irishmen on the various ways to understand and work within the system of immigration and naturalization in the United States. Here he continued for eleven years, and on its closing, transferred to Haley’s restaurant on Beacon Hill.

In 1960s Mike took a job in the Massachusetts Speaker’s Office, under Robert Quinn, as Administrative Assistant, and effectively mastered the plethora of details on the immigration process. Before long, he was recognized as a specialist on immigration, and for many Irish, and other immigrants alike, Mike offered advice and direction that they might otherwise had not been able to afford.

In 1968, Mike was appointed Court Officer to the Speaker of the House, David Bartley. Ten years later, Speaker Thomas McGee appointed him his Administrative Assistant, the position he still holds. Since 1968, Mike has worked in the Speaker’s office under four administrations and is currently on George Keverian’s staff.

The recurring tribute to Mike Joyce’s character is that this soft spoken, gentle man never asks for anything in return; his reward is the self-satisfaction he gains from doing his job well, and making it possible for countless immigrants to find a place for themselves here in America, be they Irish or otherwise.

Mike and Theresa have been blessed with six beautiful children; Mary, Christina, Eileen, Thomas, Theresa and Michael, Jr. along with eight grandchildren.

From May 14,1987