Hi there. I had a look at the 1880 and 1900 censuses out of curiosity. I found a James Hoey in 1880, Irish born, with a J. Hoey as wife and a passle of children, living in Florida.
Found him again in 1900, with fewer children and a wife named Julia. I wondered, though, because this guy is listed first as a carpenter in 1880 and as a bridge contractor in 1900...with no date of immigration. He wasn't there in 1910, but there was a James I. in Florida who appears to be his son. Is this your man? I didn't look at the 1860 or '70 census, but I think the 1880 census said his oldest child was 12. If he's your man, then he was in the U.S. before 1870. Have you tracked him any earlier than that?
Do you have his marriage record? I've had luck once or twice with ecclesiastical church records, which are different from the marriage records in that there was a form which said where the people getting married were baptized. I've found that churches do not automatically look for such records when they get a query. Not all churches kept those records, though. It's the only thing I can think of to verify place of birth. You might make inquiries. It's a shot.
Getting people across the pond to Ireland is a tough thing, particularly in that era or earlier.
The only other thing I can think of, short of going through every ship's list extant from the Famine forward would be to order the Irish church records for the areas you've determined had Hoeys and having a look. It's a pain and carries no guarantee of success. But as me dear sainted mother used to say, "No sense in being Irish if you can't be thick."
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