Thursday 12 December 2019

Accomplished storyteller Bob Lambert lived life to the full

The late Robert (Bob) Lambert.
The late Robert (Bob) Lambert.

There was widespread sadness following the death of Robert (Bob) Lambert of Átha Buí, Newcastle, Crossabeg, recently.

Bob who passed away on Wednesday, March 23, in Wexford General Hospital was man who always had a good word for others and who lived life to the full to the end. He died just six days after suffering a stroke on St Patrick's Day and six months after the passing of Mary, his beloved wife for 58 years.

Born in Rathaspeck in 1935, son to Robert (Bob) Lambert of Kyle, TD in the first Dáil, and Ellen (Nellie) Walsh of Kereight, Bob was a well-known figure in the community, being active in the GAA, local politics and latterly in the House of Stories.

He is sadly missed by his children, Bobby, Máire, Brenda, Paula, Enda, Dympna and Colm, all living in Wexford, his 27 grandchildren, one great grandson, daughters and sons-in-law, his brother Pat Lambert, his sisters Josie Cronin and Breda Daly, his nieces, nephews and cousins and his many friends in Wexford, Dublin, throughout Ireland and overseas. As one of his sons-in-law commented, 'with Mary he started a family and left behind a dynasty'.

As a young man in Dublin and Wexford, he loved working on the home farm, cycling to dances, and of course the GAA, including playing hurling with Fr Murphy's in Dublin, with Dundrum, a club he helped found, and with St Mary's of Rosslare. It was at a dance that he met Mary and their first date was at Croke Park to witness Wexford's victory over Galway in the 1955 All-Ireland final.

Bob was a hard worker, firstly on the home farm, on building sites, as a milkman, running his own greengrocer business in Dublin, then, from 1972, farming in Kilrane and finally, from 1990, running a pub in Wellingtonbridge, where he enjoyed the banter and many a game of pool. While in Kilrane, he was an active member of the Fianna Fáil party and a local councillor.

In Kilrane, with Mary, he drove cars full of young players with St Mary's Rosslare to matches all over the county. He supported all the sports and activities of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, including basketball, camogie, drama, gymnastics, football, kickboxing, hurling, singing, soccer and taekwondo. He was regularly to be seen supporting the many clubs with whom they played, including Bridge Rovers, Clongeen, Crossabeg AFC, Crossabeg-Ballymurn, Curracloe United, St Fintan's, St Ibars, St Mary's Rosslare, the Shelmaliers, Rosslare Rangers the Volunteers, and also Rosslare Drama Group. His enthusiasm sometimes got the better of him and he is noted in Crossabeg-Ballymurn GAA club for being the only person to get a red card whilst on the sideline.

When he finally retired to Crossabeg in 2000, he continued to be a very active member of the community, notably in his support of the GAA, his involvement with the House of Stories and fundraising for good causes. He was to be seen almost daily in Wexford town with Mary, catching up with family and friends over coffee in Bean n' Berry. As he strolled down the Main Street, he generally made slow progress, always exchanging a laugh and a good word with his many friends. When not in town, he was often to be found in his garden or shed, working on his wood-carvings, or in his study, socialising on Facebook or working on his memoirs.

His involvement with the House of Stories took him regularly to venues in Wexford, Carlow, Wicklow and sometimes further afield, including participating several times in the bard of Armagh competition. He was a founder-member and 'fear-an-tí' in the Forge story-house in Crossabeg. He was also a keen supporter of other houses of stories, was well known for his stories, poems, sense of humour and above all his encouragement to others to participate and enjoy themselves. His ability to tell a good story is recorded for posterity as part of the Wexford Oral History project in which he recounted part of his life-story. His last act on St Patrick's Day was a story-telling engagement at Hotel Rosslare.

He would have been delighted to see how many friends and family turned out for his funeral, and would have enjoyed the fact, as a lifelong teetotaller and former publican, that it took place on Good Friday.

Funeral Mass took place in Crossabeg.

His Month's Mind Mass is on Sunday, May 8, at 11.15am in Crossabeg Church.

Wexford People