My line of the Lambert family for many years owned large amounts of land and houses around the busy town of Athenry, in the county of Galway. You can see the location of some of them on the map below. Sadly most of the great homes have now gone, the main exception is Castle Ellen which you can read about on another page.
The main house was of course Castle Lambert this site was purchased In 1756 when my descendants moved from Creg Clare, county Galway (where they had been settled ever since leaving Calton in Yorkshire). The estate was originally known as the Aghrim, or Moor estate and was purchased from the Blakes of Corbally (it is believed as settlement of a debt).
At its peek the estate was around 2020 Hectares (5,000 acres), substantial building followed over the years, local lore relates that Thomas and his son Walter Lambert used stone taken from a disused church, which reputedly stood close by. Other property in the area were also purchased to house the offspring of the growing family. One incident at Castle Lambert put the area in the national press for a number of months. In 1869 the current resident was a Capt, Walter Lambert a local justice of the peace, who was shot by a Peter Barrett whose parents had recently been evicted from the nearby Moor Park estate. Capt Lambert although injured survived and later Mr. Barrett was arrested. During the subsequent two trails the Jury were unable to reach a unanimous verdict, apparently because Capt Lambert appears to have been 'economical with the truth' and with the growing movement for home rule Mr. Barrett had become a 'bit of a hero'. You can read a detailed account of these events by Ann Healy in the Biographies section in Research.
Around 1892 Frank Shawe Taylor of Castle Taylor bought over 1,200 acres of the estate including two Lambert houses, Castle Lambert and Moor Park. Sadly all that is left of the grand house today is the bell tower and entrance arch, shown below. Then in 1920 during those 'troubled times' Shawe Taylor was assassinated and soon after the estate was divided up on an 'ad hoc' basis with the Irish Land Commission assuming responsibility for the division of the lands in 1928.
Today the area around the main house is called the village of Castle Lambert, containing nearly twenty house and farms.
In the grounds of Castle Lambert lies the ruins of Moor Abbey in the area know today as Moorpark Here there is a small graveyard containing The Lambert Tomb see the picture below. It is thought to contain the remains of Walter Lambert (died 1867 age 72). Mary Jane Lambert (died 1868 age 37) and Ann Lambert (died 1897 aged 87). In 1975 Hubert Lambert who lived in Dublin travelled to the Tomb only to find it had been vandalised. In 1977 he and his sons cleared the undergrowth around the tomb, resecured it and had a plate made to commemorate those thought to be inside. In 2002 Mr. Finbarr O'Regan, then Principal of Carnaun National School organised an inspection of the tomb by the Architect Gerry McManus and subsequently Finbarr tried to get a grant to renovate, but sadly was not successful.
For those traveling to the area - 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.