John Stanislaus Joyce was born in Cork in 1849. He moved to Dublin when he was in his early thirties and married Mary Murray in May 1880. They had ten surviving children, the eldest of whom was James, who would go on to be one of the most famous writers of the twentieth century.

John was a supporter of Charles Stewart Parnell, and was angry at his treatment by the Catholic church. James wrote a poem “Et Tu Healy” on the death of Parnell. John had the poem published and even sent a copy to the Vatican library.

In 1882 Joyce was appointed a Rates Collector by the Collector-General of Rates and Taxes but the salary wasn’t enough to maintain the large family, the repayments on various mortgages John had taken out on his inherited properties and his drinking.

In early 1882 John Joyce lost his rate collecting job and was entered into Stubbs Gazette, the official register of bankruptcies. This marked the beginning of the families slide into poverty as they moved from house to house, eventually having lived at 22 different addresses leaving a trail of unpaid rent arrears behind them.

John Stanislaus Joyce died aged 82 in December 1931 and is buried in Glasnevin cemetery.