About the end of the eighteenth century, the district lying between the Royal Canal and the Tolka, and bounded east and west by the North Strand and Ballybough Road, was called "Mud Island". It was then little better than a swampy, low common, dotted here and there with mud cabins and sand-its. It was famous at one time for the daring deeds of its denizens, but its glories have long departed. No longer a common, it is now a large district ramified by streets, and teeming with a constantly increasing population.
Mud Island was a rare spot a century ago, and had its "king" like royal Dalkey. Many disputed his privileges, but he did not care three pewter raps for any of them. McDonnell was the king's name, but he sometimes traded under the name of McGowan, because his majesty was always in difficulties, and, being a kind-hearted man, thought it better to bamboozle his creditors than to brain them. The "king" in his private capacity was the owner of the sand-pits and the cabins.
The Irish Times, December 4th, 1930