The Lambert family for many years owned large amounts of land around the busy town of Athenry, in the county of Galway Click here to see map. Sadly most of the great homes have now gone, the main exception is Castle Ellen. Named after a near by ruin, the house was built in the mid 14th century and housed at least four generations of Lamberts, after the family brought it during the 17th century. Sold to the land commission in 1923 by Capt. Walter Peter Lambert, it is today in private hands and being restored. Most of the Lambert families had fairly similar crest, here is the Castle Ellen one.
It was here that Sir Edward Carson spent most of his school holidays with his mother Isabella Lambert. Carson is a very important figure in Irish/British politics, being heavily involved in events in Ireland between 1910 and 1921. As a lawyer he was also involved in the Jack the Ripper case, an the Oscar Wilde trial.
The main house was Castle Lambert, all that of left of it today is the entrance arch, shown left. However, part of the estate has now become the village of Castle Lambert, containing nearly twenty house.
Giles Eyre Lambert was Landlord of Moore Park, another Lambert estate next to Castle Lambert - Shot in 1869 by Peter Barrett, who's parents had lived on the estate, but had recently been evicted. It is said that Barrett hide in a Lime Tree outside Castle Lambert and waited for Capt. Lambert to come out. When he did he shot him in his heart. Lambert slumped and Barrett left him for dead.
However the bullet was stopped by his Gold Watch and although unconscious for a time, he fully recovered. Barrett made his escape catching the train to Dublin, where he was arrested.
When the case opened in Galway it attracted world wide coverage and was thought of as the trial of the century. Peter Barrett was defended by the Fenian's lawyer Isaac Butt. The jury failed to reach agreement and there was a re-trial in Dublin, again there was disagreement.
At the third trial he was found not-guilty based on the fact he could have not been able to shoot Giles Lambert at the time his watch stopped, an then still be able to board the Dublin train at the time he apparently did.
After the trial it emerged that a railway employ had lied about the train's time, which had in fact been some six minutes late. It also seems that Capt. Lambert's watch had continued ticking for at least ten minutes longer after it was hit!
The Sword of Lambert at the Bar of Iggi.
Any visit to Athenry would not be complete without a visit to the Fields of Athenry Gift Shop where you can find answers to many questions whilst spending your money. Also take the time to cross the road to Iggi's Bar, where on a cold day you can sit around a roaring fire and talk to the locals. It is here that you will also find the Sword of Lambert hanging on the wall. The picture shows Caroline Lambert (at that time the youngest Lambert in my line of the family) holding the Sword.
It is said that anyone who holds the sword will receive good fortune, have a long life and will buy a round of drinks for all the good men (and their ladies) in the bar.
You may like to click here to know more about Athenry and what the children of this town are doing. You may also want to visit the website of that other Lambert home at Castle Ellen