Karl Gottlob Kütter, a parson’s son from the inland town of Wiedemar in Saxony was greatly impressed by Dublin Bay and the river Liffey when he visited the city in 1783.He described the sight in a letter to his friend Schenk:
If I had to live permanently in this city, one of my greatest and most pleasant pastimes would be to stroll in the mornings along by the Liffey out to the harbour, especially when the tide is in. You could hardly imagine anything more appealing particularly when the weather is fine enough to be able to see far out into the bay. The sight of the sea and the mountains that enclose the bay on both sides, as well as of the several hundred ships near and far that are always to be seen, are things that swell the heart and defy description.
From Essex [Grattan] Bridge onwards the Liffey is sometimes so full that one can walk from one ship’s deck to another and cross the river as over a bridge. Throngs of people are partially at work on the ships and partially in countless boats between the ships where, although there hardly seems to be any room whatsoever, boatmen manage to wind their way through. The sight of the masts that look like a forest, some with their sails struck, others with them set, with English, French, Spanish Dutch or Scandinavian flags flying; the varied sizes and shapes of ship with 10,15,20 or more cannons or none at all; the arrival of some, the departure of others; the hustle and bustle of some being loaded and others unloaded; the diversity of figures, costumes, languages and many other things would often occupy me for many hours in a row.
I walk slowly down the river, which becomes broader and broader and finally loses itself in the bay. There the view is more grandiose and sublime and the ships, which previously moved at a slower and more restricted pace, now show themselves in their full majesty and, released from all confinement, take their free, rapid and stately course.