In the 18th century an area of Dublin was known as 'Mud Island' and had its own king. Among its population were smugglers and highway robbers. It was a law unto itself… the authorities knew better than to set foot in there.
It is said that at one point the king of Mud Island tried to buy a house in Drumcondra in an auction, but he was out-bid. In response he and his Mud Islanders went to Drumcondra and demolished the house. They then took the bricks back home under cover of darkness.
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Bram Stoker, author of Dracula lived nearby and is said to have been inspired by a graveyard called the ‘suicide plot’ which was set aside for criminals and suicides. The tradition had been to bury people there, staked down, lest their troubled souls go wandering.
Mud Island gets a mention in James Joyce’s Ulysses… “At Newcomen bridge Father Conmee stepped into an outward bound tram for he disliked to traverse on foot the dingy way past Mud Island”.
There is now a blossoming community garden in the area called Mud Island Community Garden.