The Lake of the Sand Banks is a small village situated approximately two miles from Geesala. This village has a long history of landlords, with Sir Edmund Barrett, from the Munster branch of the Barrett family having had a castle here. He had two sons who fought in the English army, and for services rendered by them, their father was granted more land in the Erris area. At a later date however, the family revolted against the crown, they were shot and the lands confiscated. Sadly, nothing remains of the castle now, as the stones were used to build roads and outhouses in the village.
The author of the popular school book Padraig Máire Bhán, Séan Ó Ruadháin is a native of the village and the poetry of Tom Conway and Rose Ellen Donohoe which were published by some of the national daily newspapers and The Western People.
There is a 'cillin' in the sand banks in the village which was a burial ground during famine times. In 1991 a stone was erected on the spot and Mass is read there annually to commemorate the event.
Doolough beach is the site of the horseracing and greyhound racing during the now very popular Geesala festival which is held in August. The beautiful sandy beach makes it a very safe venue for these events, and in fact the beach has become so popular that it is hoped that it will gain Blue Flag status in the near future.
The Sand Banks of the Lizard is actually two villages, Dooyork Upper and Lower. This came about as the village was split by an estuary and the easiest way for people to identify the two areas was by calling them Upper and Lower. John M. Synge, who visited this village at the beginning of the last century was quoted as saying it is in places like this, where there is no thoroughfare in any direction to bring strangers to the country, that one meets with the most individual life.
The old people in this village remember a custom called 'marriage by conquest', that is the abduction of a girl for marriage. In or around 1855, men came across from Blacksod Bay by boat and tried to abduct a girl from the strand. Neighbours heard the girl screaming and they intervened to rescue the girl. The men escaped across the bay by boat.
This village also has access to a beautiful beach and a football pitch which is popular with the young players in the summer months.
(Tristia) meaning Uncertain: This village has a history dating back to pre-Christian times with a polished axe-head being found here early last century. (It is now preserved in the National Museum, Dublin).
There was also a history of the Church tradition celebrating the Jublilee of our Lord every 50th year. Around the end of the 15th century, Pope Paul 11 reduced the period to every twenty five years. The Jubilee of 1825 was the only one celebrated in that century, as due to political disturbances in Italy no Jubilee had been celebrated in 1800, 1850 and 1875. Because of the Penal Laws in Ireland, Jubilees could not be held here.
In 1826. Bishop John McHale of Killala went from parish to parish to proclaim the Jubilee and to celebrate it with the people of the diocese. The hill of Mount Jubilee was the most natural place for the celebrations and the actual place name became known as Cnoc no Logha (hill of indulgence).
The old oratory which had been built at that time had fallen into repair in the 1980's and was replaced by a small house of prayer, all done with voluntary labour. Mass is celebrated there once a year, in August when most of the emigrant population of the village return home to holiday.
The village is well populated with many of the young families returning home from working overseas and settling in the village.
Article by Mary Togher