Castle Ellen House near Athenry in County Galway, Ireland, dates to 1810. The magnificent house was built by the Lamberts when the demands of their growing family meant that were outgrowing the castle they were inhabiting – the partial ruins of which remain within the 33-acre estate.
The Lambert family lived there for several generations. One high-profile connection with the great house concerns Edward Carson. Through his marriage to Isabella Lambert, Edward would be associated with the estate. Carson was the lawyer who represented the Marquis of Queensbury in a libel case brought against him by the playwright, Oscar Wilde, over his public remarks about a relationship between Wilde and the Marquis’s son. Following a brutal cross-examination by Carson, the case against his client collapsed and Wilde was subsequently arrested, put on trial, and convicted of “gross indecency”. Wilde was imprisoned and died in poverty three years after his release, while Carson went on to become a strong politician who argued that Northern Ireland should continue to be ruled by the British.
It is understood that in 1892, Walter Peter Lambert was enjoying breakfast at the Imperial Hotel in Tuam when he began to choke. The story continues that maids were busy preparing his bedroom for their master’s return when they noticed Walter walking towards Castle Ellen House on foot. Given that he normally traveled by coach, they thought this unusual but quickly finished their work and vacated the room. What they did not know, was that their master had actually died at his table sometime before. When an attempt was made to bring the master home so that he could be prepared for burial, two sets of horses refused to cross the boundary, and staff were forced to carry Walter’s body up the driveway by hand. Walter’s ghost is still said to re-visit his former home more than 200 years after his death.
The current owner purchased the then derelict property in 1974 and has been slowly restoring it to its former grandeur ever since. The property is opened to the public for limited hours during the summer months and proceeds will help continue the restoration work. In addition, the Walter Lambert room is available for short stays and details can be viewed on Airbnb. An authentic castle experience is assured, and maybe you will get to meet the man himself.
Castle Ellen is normally open for a few days per week during the summer months. If you would like to arrange a visit, please contact Michael on 087 274 7692.
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