SOME may have been forgiven for thinking the Rebel County had risen. Yet a closer glance at the flags on the gun-metal-grey naval vessels spotted in the misty rain off the Cork coastline revealed that an international squadron had descended on Irish waters.
Defence Minister Alan Shatter was quick to don the naval baseball cap as he led the fleet of 11 warships around Lower Cork Harbour to signal the start of the Rebel Week naval festivities.
However, he left Simon Coveney in his wake – as the Agriculture Minister proved a spot tardy. He had been late for the LE Eithne leaving Cobh Deep Water Dock and had to don the lifejacket as he took a pilot boat out to join the larger vessels.
The traditional gathering of ships, known as a Naval Fleet Review, proved a spectacular sight and it fell to Mr Shatter to observe the ships. Standing aboard the LE Eithne, he received a salute from each of the ships and returned the gesture as they passed slowly by.
All of the vessels had their decks lined with their crews in pressed pristine uniforms, while the ships were bedecked in colourful naval flags.
Before boarding the vessel at Cobh, he reviewed a 50-strong Naval Guard of Honour.
Some had lined the waterfront at Cobh to take in the sight, while some private boats and yachts also went out to see to view the ships.
And, for ship enthusiasts, the Irish Naval vessels will be docked alongside ships from Britain, Belgium, Germany and Russia, with members of the public permitted to board some of the vessels today and tomorrow.