Perhaps it is a sign of the times but the sight of three helicopters flying low over Cork City last night attracted plenty of curiosity.
With lockdown in place leaving many hard up for entertainment, an evening's disruption was most welcome and three helicopters performing a number of low altitude patrols over the city was just the ticket.
The three helicopters were later seen in other parts of Cork county and the Munster region.
Some reacted with some typical local humour to the scene although the presence of coronavirus was not far from some good-natured conspiratorial speculation.
Are the planes and helicopters flying over cork the start of a coup where we declare the real republic of cork and get all the pharma companies to give us all the vaccines for an even lower tax rate?— Tom Williams (@tumblesws) April 13, 2021
Did you see there were 3 helicopters above Cork today. They were monitoring who had got the vaccine. The signals were grand and clear.— CB Bean Uí Fhoghlú 🦋🐕 (@CBFoley) April 13, 2021
I'm thrilled anyway, after years of not being able to get Irish channels unless I had Sky, I have them all now! My neighbour got her vax!
The skies over Cork have been quiet with reduced international travel and the familiar thrum of aircraft taking off and landing from Cork Airport overhead was a nice reminder of busier times.
The defence forces confirmed that the aircraft were involved in a "routine military exercise" and did not provide any details of the helicopters that were taking part.
"Óglaigh na hÉireann are currently conducting a routine military exercise in Co Cork. This exercise involves the use of a number of Defence Forces assets including several aircraft. Operational details are not being released," said a spokesperson for the defence forces.
It may be some time before the skies above the city are busy again after Cork Airport announced the dates of its 10-week closure this autumn to facilitate a complete upgrade of its main runway.
Management has now confirmed the airport will close on September 10 and reopen on November 22 in time for what it is hoped will be a busy Christmas period.