Joe Boyce, Retired Garda Sergeant, 16573E
I was born in Carrigart, Co. Donegal. After leaving school, I worked on the family farm. In the summer of 1965, I saw an advert for the entrance exam to join An Garda Síochána. I sat the written
exam in Letterkenny and was successful. I completed the medical exam in Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park on the 8th March 1966; the day Nelson’s Pillar was blown up. I reported to the Garda
College, Templemore in May 1966.
It was a long way from Carrigart to Templemore (340 kms) – I recall, having been home one weekend, “thumbing” lifts back down to the Garda College . . . I eventually got there on the Sunday
night after getting 18 “lifts”.
After completing my initial period of training, I was allocated to Oughterard in September 1966. At that time it was a District Headquarters with a Superintendent and a 24-hour service. The station
was located across the street from the Corrib Hotel.
In June 1967, I was transferred to Leitir Mór Garda Station and given that it was a Gaeltacht area, all correspondence, giving evidence in Court, etc. were done through the medium of Irish. During this
time, I was sent on temporary transfer to Clones, Co. Monaghan on border duties during the ‘Foot and Mouth Disease’. I also spent two months on temporary duties in Pettigo, Co. Donegal during “The Troubles”.
In July 1970, I was transferred to Clifden Garda Station, which was also a District Headquarters at that time. I married my wife, Bridie, during this time; whom I had met shortly after arriving in
Oughterard in 1966.
In August 1971, I was transferred to Bunbeg Garda Station, Co. Donegal (again another Gaeltacht area) and moved up there with my wife and newborn daughter, Clodagh. I spent eight years there
where three of my children were born, Padraig, Dermot & Eimear.
In October 1978, I was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and transferred to Burnfoot Garda Station, also in Co. Donegal, on border duty.
In February 1979, I was transferred to Rosmuc Garda Station in the Connemara Gaeltacht where we lived for five years and two of my children, Eugene & Ailbhe were born during this time.
In September 1983, I transferred back to Oughterard . . . where my service began and was to finish! Oughterard was still a District Headquarters at this time with a Superintendent, two Sergeants, approx. seventeen Gardai & one civilian Garda staff. In 1984, Salthill became the new District Headquarters with Oughterard’s station party being reduced to one Sergeant and five Gardai.
I retired in June 2002 after 36 years’ service, having thoroughly enjoyed working in An Garda Síochána. I met some wonderful people both in An Garda Síochána and in the communities I worked
in. I would do it all over again if that were possible . .
Two of my sons and two daughters followed my footsteps by joining “The Force” as we referred to it and I also have two sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law in An Garda Síochána.
Many thanks to the Boyce family for sharing their great collection of photos