Ashley Cole captained England as a reward for winning his 100th cap earlier this year against Brazil, but it was Ireland who were celebrating when Shane Long headed the opener.
Evergreen midfielder Lampard timed his run to perfection midway through the first half to score, but David Forde produced a couple of smart late saves to leave England without a win over Ireland since 1985.
Ireland took the lead on 13 minutes with the first real chance of the game when Long took advantage of slack defending from Glen Johnson to glance a superb header beyond Joe Hart following Seamus Coleman's cross from the right.
England took time to settle, but equalised 10 minutes later when loose defending from Ireland this time presented Daniel Sturridge with space on the left and his cross somehow found its way through for Lampard to flick home from close range.
Sturridge's first start for England came to an early end just past the half-hour mark when he was stretchered off and replaced by Jermain Defoe.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shot straight at Forde after Manchester United team-mates Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney had combined well, while Coleman cleared Theo Walcott's low ball into the six-yard box.
At the other end, Aiden McGeady was a dangerous outlet for Ireland and he was stopped in the penalty area by a perfectly-timed challenge from Gary Cahill after the winger had skipped past Johnson.
Just three minutes into the second half and Cole almost scored his first England goal, but he was denied by a combination of Coleman and Sean St Ledger after Rooney's excellent pass had been fed back into the danger area by Walcott.
Cole was replaced by Leighton Baines on 54 minutes and, 11 minutes later, England launched a counter-attack through Defoe and he picked out Walcott, whose low shot from the right corner of the box was turned round the post by Forde.
Ireland substitute James McClean curled a free-kick over before Ben Foster, making his first England appearance since November 2010 after replacing Hart at half-time, had a lucky escape when the offside flag came to his rescue after he made a mess of a deflected cross.
In the final 10 minutes, England had two fine chances to snatch a winner, but Oxlade-Chamberlain shot straight at Forde and the winger's Arsenal team-mate Walcott's low shot was then kept out by the Ireland keeper's legs.