A hidden paradise three miles off the coast of Dublin
By its very nature as an island, Lambay has a unique ecosystem and micro-climate that remains independent of the mainland. Visitors and guests are quick to note the proliferation of bees and butterflies of all shapes and colours, who thrive thanks to a lack of pollution, disturbance and an abundance of flora and natural habitat. This micro-climate is perfect for our cask maturation hence why we have placed our whiskey casks in the once used lifeboat cottage on our western shore.
Lambay Whiskey offer a VIP Whiskey Tour Experience for private groups. Please visit whiskeyisland.ie for more details and booking enquiries. Unfortunately due to the Cov-id 19 pandemic all tours for the season April – October are postponed but we are taking bookings for 2021!
While Lambay Island has a long history dating back to the arrival of the Danes in the 8th century and later being owned by the Archbishops of Dublin up to the 17th century, Lambay was also home to pirates and smugglers who used the island’s caverns and bays to carry on their trade in the period 15th to 18th century.
Subsequent owners of the island were the Ussher family, Sir William Wolsley, Lord Talbot of Malahide Castle and Count Considine. In the first half of the 19th century, the clergy of mainland Rush began to move parishioners from Rush to the island where they agreed with the Archbishop to look after the spiritual needs of the inhabitants. In 1831 the number of people living on the island was 84. It rose to over 100 in the 1840’s with over 40 pupils attending the national school. From there on the population reduced gradually. When Cecil Baring bought the island in 1904, the population was less than twenty which included seasonal and coastguard workers. Today a total of 6 persons reside here.
Privately owned since 1904, the Baring Family are committed to protecting and maintaining this precious ecosystem not only for the flora and fauna but also as a place where sustainable living and sustainable practices are prevalent, reminding us to slow down and live in a responsible and healthy manner.
Today Alexander Baring 7th Lord Revelstoke, is spearheading what has become known as “The Lambay Initiative”, a comprehensive effort to preserve this unique Island, ensuring that not only its coastline, flora, fauna and architecture are kept in pristine condition, but that the original culture and values transmitted from generation to generation are kept alive into a vibrant yet discreet lifestyle instantly appealing to all who are fortunate to share it.
When purchased, the island’s 15th-century castle needed some repair. Cecil Baring first employed an unidentified architect from Dublin to renovate and extend the castle before engaging world-renowned architect of his time, Sir Edwin Lutyens to work on the redevelopment project.
The castle is the only Lutyens-designed home, still in the hands of the family that commissioned it. Window frames, doorways and stairs were built with Milverton limestone, each stone lovingly shaped from an individual template supplied by the architect. The original castle walls are all angled to permit enfilade fire from musket holes. Lutyens’ architectural gem took nearly five years to complete.
Lutyens became a firm friend of the Barings and continued to return to Lambay throughout his life, adding to his architectural designs and renovations over the course of three decades. The castle rooms still hold some incredible Lutyens designed furniture.
Cecil Baring became Lord Revelstoke in 1929 and died in 1934. He and his beloved wife Maude Lorillard are buried in the family mausoleum on Lambay, along with their son Rupert Baring and grandson John Baring. The Mausoleum, also designed by Lutyens, forms part of the circular rampart wall around the Castle and is engraved with a poem Cecil wrote in memory of Maude when she died.
Today Lambay Estate includes domestic extensions to the old Castle, a row of Coastguard cottages, the Bothy, the White House (family guesthouse), a harbour and boathouse and a distinctive open-air real tennis court, the only one remaining in Ireland.
Discover the fascinating history of the Baring family.