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Ballybough (Irish: An Baile Bocht, "the poor town") is an inner city district of northeast Dublin city, Ireland. Situated north of the Summerhill Parade /N.C.R. intersection to Drumcondra and east of the N.C.R. to the River Tolka at Fairview, adjacent areas include the North Strand and Clonliffe. Before its urbanization in the late 19th century, Ballybough was known as Mud Island, owing to its proximity to the mud flats that now form Fairview and environs. In 2013, Dublin City councillor Nial Ring started a controversial campaign to change the official Irish name from Baile Bocht to Baile Bog, on the grounds that 'Poor Town' was insulting to the residents. A counter-campaign was started by some Irish-speaking residents.
There is an old Jewish cemetery, Ballybough Cemetery, on Fairview Strand near Ballybough Bridge (now renamed Luke Kelly Bridge) — the bridge that formed the central point of the Battle of Clontarf. Inspired by this cemetery Dublin poet Gerry McDonnell wrote his collection of poetry, 'Mud Island Elegy', on the Jewish community of Ireland in the 19th century.
In the distant past, this was a district that attracted characters of ill-repute, drunks, prostitutes, and pirates. James Clarence Mangan used the pseudonym 'Peter Puff Secundus, Mud Island, near the bog’ to identify with the area. Here the authorities designated an area of burial known colloquially as 'the Suicide Plot' from which Bram Stoker derived the idea of the cross for his novel Dracula, the cross being the junction of Clonliffe Road and Ballybough Road. This site now hosts two large advertising billboards which local residents are trying to have removed.
During the land reclamation project of the 19th century, Mud Island was also known, interchangeably, as Friend's Field or French Field, before it became known by its current name. The village of Ballybough traces its origins to a series of small dwellings known as Ballybough Cottages, which were later demolished to make way for the Dublin Corporation housing project known as Ballybough House.
Close by at Jones's Road is Croke Park, the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association. This sports stadium is among the most modern in Europe with a capacity of 83,000. In addition to hurling and Gaelic football, it is used as a rock concert venue. Here U2 has played to some of its largest audiences. The stadium was where world boxing champion Muhammad Ali defeated 'Al Blue' Lewis in a non-title fight in 1972.
The area was home to famous people such as Luke Kelly of The Dubliners folk group for whom Ballybough Bridge over the River Tolka is named. The film director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, The Field) is from the area. Curtis Flemming from Tolka Road played International football for Ireland as did Paddy Moore from Clonliffe Avenue.