My family came to Castle Lambert in March 1908 from Killabeg, Cappataggle. We had originally come from Kiltormer from where my grandfather was evicted shortly after the famine. My father, Tom Kelly, worked in Castle Lambert as a herd for Shaw J ‘Q Taylor looking after over one hundred cattle and a couple of hundred sheep. A good sheepdog was essential eighty years ago in Castle Lambert as the townland was divided into four fields only, each measuring about one hundred acres. I can still remember their names: Páirc Mór, Páirc ‘a Mháile, Hynes Field and The Lawn. As vets were scarce on the ground and out of the question for local people during my father’s time, he was kept busy castrating cattle and treating warts on horses with his home-made “wart-cure” until his old age. He had a strong tenor voice and was known far and wide for his rendering of songs such as “Master McGrath” and “Alice Benbowl”—songs not often heard today. .
I got married in 1952 to Brigid Costello from Lisheenkyle. Her father, John Costello, came from Glenascaul, Oranmore and bought the farm in Lisheenkyle around the year 1916. John Costello, like many more people in the locality, was a native Irish speaker. Máirtín Ó Cadhain, the Gaelic scholar and principal teacher in Carnmore N.S. was a frequent visitor to John Costello’s house in Lisheenkyle where they conversed and swapped stories in the now virtually extinct Irish of East Galway. Patrick Costello, John’s son now lives in the home place.
The Moylan family came to Castle Lambert in June 1919 from Killdysart, Co. Clare and Paddy the father worked in Moorpark. There were fifteen children in the Moylan family, ten of whom were girls. One of the girls, Aggie is married to Denis Hanley, a School’s Inspector in England and a well known author of children’s books. Christy Moylan now lives in the home place.
Martin Ruane, Pake’s father, came to live in Castle Lambert in 1924 having married Brigid Morrissey of Cahercrin on Lady’s Day the previous year. Brigid Morrissey was a member of Cuman na mBan and was present at the gathering of volunteers under Liam Mellows in 1916 at Moyode Castle. She was a sister of Dick Morrissey who played for Galway when they won the county’s first All Ireland Hurling title in 1923. Pake Ruane, I know, is involved in the school’s centenary committee.
Richard Higgins, Joe’s father, came to the village in 1925 and married Mary Ann Caulfield of Cregmore on the 25th June of the same year. Richard’s family is unique in the parish in having three sons ordained to the priesthood, namely, Fr. Paddy, Fr. Richard and Fr. Michael. Fr. Richard spent many years as a priest in Scotland and both Fr. Paddy and Fr. Michael are based in America though, thankfully, they are frequent visitors home. Richard Higgins junior and Ursula his wife are keeping up the family farming tradition.
Paddy Kelly built his house around the year 1928 and married Bridie Holian from Park, Athenry. Paddy was a skillful hurler and a very fast runner. He played with the Derrydonnell team winning both the West Board and Junior Championships and the County Junior Championship with the team in 1929. He also doubled as team manager. He has retained a lifelong interest in the game and has been Vice President of St. Mary’s Hurling Club, Athenry for many years. Tommy and his wife Kathleen now run the family farm.
Jack Kelly, Paddy’s brother with his son Johnny moved to a new house in Castle Lambert about twenty years ago. Jack was married to Julia Caulfield, Moorpark, a sister of Martin John Caulfield. Jack also played on the Derrydonnell hurling team of 1929 with his brothers Paddy and Hughie.
Mick Dunleavy came to Castle Lambert in 1927 and married Agnes Keneghan from Boyle, Co. Roscommon. Mick was an army officer and retired to take up farming in 1925. His wife was a primary teacher in Cregmore N.S. for many years. Mick’s son Frank, an engineer, now runs the family farm.
I built houses for Pat Connell and Mick Kelly in 1932 and they moved into the village in that year. Pat Connell came from Lisheenkyle and married Sally Kelly from Windfield, Moylough. Pat had the most useful pair of hands I have ever seen on a man. He could turn his hand to any task. H was also a skillful hurler and I will never forget his display of goalkeeping in the 1929 West Board Junior semi-final against Castlegar. Though we all played well we had Pat Connell to thank for getting us to the final, he made such great “saves”. Frank and Joe Connell, twin sons of Pat, now live on the family farm.
Mick Kelly also came from Lisheenkyle and got married in 1933 to Kate Duggan who came from a village between Oughterard and Leitir Mór. Mick was a member of the old I.R.A. and was interned with other local men including Martin Ruane and Richard Higgins in Frongoch, Wales for his part in the 1916 Rising. He was a great conversationalist and could tell stories going back to Cromwellian times. Kate, his wife entered the man’s’ world of dairy farming during the sixties and beat all-comers at the Athenry Show with her champion Friesian cows. I will always remember drinking from the “Mart Cup” generously filled by Kate on at least three occasions. Michael and Anne Kelly now live in the home farm.
Sean (Christy) Courtney moved into the village around 1929 and lived in part of Castle Lambert Big House. He married Brigid Holland of Lisheenkyle. Christy was a member of the Irish Guards and fought during the First World War. When he returned to Ireland after the war he joined the Irish Volunteers and was active during the struggle for Independence. He always remained a patriot and named two of his son – Emmet and Pearse – after Irish heroes. His daughter Nuala joined the Presentation Order of Nuns and his son Michael, who lives on the home farm, is the proprietor of the White House Bar, Oranmore.
Paddy and Mary Freaney moved to Castle Lambert in 1934 and came from Derrydonnell. Paddy’s brother Martin was the proprietor of the well known pub “Freaney’s” of High Street, Galway. He was one of Ireland’s best known clay pigeon shooters and was a member of the Irish International team. Paddy’s nephew Anthony, a hurling referee, now lives in Freaney’s, Castle Lambert.
Eoin Quirke, a member of an old Lisheenkyle family, moved to Castle Lambert around 1938. He married Mary Ellen Gormley from Barnadearg. Eoin’s sister Mary was married to Stephen Harris who lived in Castle Lambert where Sean Ruane lives now, for many years. A grandson of Mary Harris (nee Quirke) was ordained to the priesthood in Dublin recently. Eugene and Mary Quirke now run the Quirke family farm.
My brother Martin lived beside the Harris family and moved to Kilcolgan with his wife Bridie Lyons and family about thirty years ago. His family and the Harris family attended Carnaun School. Martin Kelly’s house was bought by Matt Ruane who in turn sold it to its present occupants, Tony and Mary Burke. Sean and Pat Ruane now live where the Harris family once lived.
Many new families have set up homes in Castle Lambert in recent years and they will be happy to send their children to Carnaun school as their parents did before them.
We were the only family living in Castle Lambert in 1908 but now with 17 houses in the village we have plenty of good company.
I wish Finbarr O’Regan and everyone involved in the Carnaun School Centenary Celebrations every good wish in their worthy enterprise.
Written by Pat Kelly
Published here 05 Feb 2021 and originally published 1991
Page 127 of The Carnaun Centenary Book
The Castle Lambert Tapes: Tape 8 Tragedy at the Pavilion
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