The community of Crossabeg and beyond was saddened recently by the death of Mary Lambert.
Mary died on September 3 at Wygram nursing home.
Born as Mary Grehan in Athboy in 1932, she was the daughter of Molly and Paddy. Mary was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, known for the love of her large family, her avid interest in sport, especially the GAA, her large circle of friends and her great sense of style and dignity.
She was loved and is sadly missed by her husband of 58 years, Robert (Bob) Lambert, her children, Bobby, Máire, Brenda, Paula, Enda, Dympna and Colm, all of whom live in Wexford, her 27 grandchildren, one great grandson, daughters and sons-in-law, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and cousins, her sister Lylie Doyle in Athboy and all her friends in Athboy, Meath, Wexford, Dublin, Carlow, Kildare, Wicklow and throughout Ireland. As one of her sons-in-law commented, 'with Robert she started a family and left behind a dynasty'.
As a young woman in Athboy, Co Meath, she loved dancing, cycling miles to the dances in nearby Kildalkey. Mary's family moved to Dublin in 1954. It was through dancing that her connection with Wexford began, when she met Robert at a dance in Dublin at the Garda social club in Kevin Street.
The Wexford connection deepened as their first date in 1955 was to witness Wexford winning the All-Ireland hurling final against Galway in Croke Park. This underlined the GAA connection that was such a feature of her life. Her Wexford connections further developed in those early years, notably through regular summer holidays to Ballinesker.
She worked with Robert in raising their family and in their businesses together, first as greengrocers in Dublin, then in 1972 to take up farming in Kilrane, Wexford. In 1990 they moved to Wellingtonbridge and turned their hands successfully to the pub business, finally retiring to Átha Buí, Newcastle, Crossabeg in 2000.
She followed sport keenly, and the GAA with a passion, never missing a game on television, and was very well versed in the achievements of Meath and Kilkenny, and attended most of Meath's All-Ireland successes, including their first All-Ireland win in 1949. Whilst in Dublin, she played camogie with the Cúchallain club, and was a keen supporter of County Meath, the Kilkenny hurlers and various Wexford club and county teams.
In Kilrane she often drove cars full of young players with St Mary's Rosslare to matches all over the county. She was regularly to be seen cheering on the line for the many clubs with whom her children, grandchildren and great-grandchild played, including Crossabeg, Clongeen, St Mary's Rosslare, the Shelmaliers and St Fintan's, and in soccer, kickboxing and basketball.
She always maintained contact with her many friends, particularly at Christmas and birthdays.
In Wexford her circle of friends developed strongly through attendance at Mass in Kilrane and Rosslare Harbour, her involvement with the Fianna Fáil Cumann, socialising in the pub in Wellingtonbridge, always as a strict teetotaller, including long games of cards and dancing, especially on the very popular Irish nights every Thursday.
Latterly she enjoyed taking part in the House of Stories in Wexford, Carlow and Wicklow, where she was most noted for her renditions of the 'Kerry Hills' and the 'Irish Jaunting Car'. She was to be seen almost daily in Wexford town, catching up with family and friends over coffee in Bean'n'Berry or strolling down the Main Street. She kept in touch with Meath goings-on through her weekly reading of the Meath Chronicle and made many trips to Athboy to catch up with family and friends.
A skilled baker, she made great brown bread and her Christmas Puddings were famous, like good wine often stored to be enjoyed all the more after a couple of years. Mary loved nice clothes and many commented on the grace and poise with which she wore them.
She was a talented Aran knitter, outfitting her young family with her creations. Her trips to Athboy would not be complete without a visit to McIlhennys and in Wexford she loved visiting Donna Ana and other clothes stores usually making one or two purchases. On trips to Dublin, lunch in Avoca Handweavers in Kilmacanogue was a must.
Throughout her life, Mary had to cope with various illnesses, which she did with dignity and style. During her many stays in hospital, she was a great comfort to other patients, using her experience to console and advise those who could be very apprehensive about a treatment, helping them feel more relaxed about their own stay in hospital.
She inspired people by her acceptance of her own final illness and how she maintained her sense of dignity right to the very end, delighting in being visited by so many of her friends and relatives.
She expressed her appreciation for the great care that she received from all of the staff in Wexford hospital and in Wygram nursing home during her time in both places. She would have been particularly pleased by how she was surrounded by her family and friends at her time of passing and by the great send-off she received at her wake and funeral mass in Crossabeg church on Saturday September 5.
A memorial Mass was held for Mary in St James' Church, Athboy, Co Meath on Saturday, September 26 and her Month's Mind will be held at Crossabeg Church, Sunday, October 4, at 11.15 a.m.