|— Pòrseachd —|
|Nickname(s): Rocky Rockey|
|Motto: Eòlannan uaignidh le sluaighan uaignidh
A lonely island with lonely people
|• Mayor||Dùinneolt a' Nallàighèig|
|• Governing body||Còinneig a' Ròic-Èibh|
|Time zone||SCT (UTC-1)|
Rockey (Romic: Ròic-èibh, pronunciation: [rɔ:ˈki:ʲ]) is an island and municipality in the province of the Eòlannan Dàiteich in Rom in the Seafaring Confederation. With 208 inhabitants it is the least populated municipality in Rom.
Both the English "Rockey" and Romic "Ròic-èibh" are derived from Old Norse *rokkey, consisting of the words *rok, meaning "foaming sea", and -ey, to indicate that it was an island. In this sense the name has a similar etymology to that of Rockall.
Rockey was settled by Vikings as early as 1008, where it was used for sheep-herding and small-scale agriculture.
Rockey has always been a "forgotten" island, having had no importance to anyone throughout its history. Under the Kingdom of Dade, the island belonged to the Lordship of the Upper North, and was governed by a vicelord directly appointed by the Lord of the Upper North. The vicelord had the right to advise the Lord, but no voting power on higher governmental levels.
During the Occupation of Rom by England in the 17th century, most of the 500 islanders moved away to Prìomh-eòlann, leaving only 20 inhabitants by the beginning of the 18th century. By 1775, the island was abandoned.
In the second half of the 19th century, people began moving back to Rockey, and by the beginning of the 20th century approximately 150 people lived there. During the Second World War this number increased to over 1200 as British refugees fled to Rom. After the end of the Second World War, most of the refugees left, with the number of inhabitants fluctuating around 200 ever since.
Rockey maintains a system of direct democracy through an island meeting under the leadership of the Mayor of Rockey, currently Dùinneolt a' Nallàighèig. The island meeting convenes every second Thursday of the month.
Rockey is divided into seventeen townlands. The townland of Fòirte nÈibheat is one of the townships of Rom that has only 1 inhabitant as of 2012. It consists of a single skerry at the southern tip of Rockey.
Rockey has no settlements; instead, inhabitants live spread out across the island in farms and maintain their particular areas of land. One main road crosses the island along its length and runs past all farmhouses.
The island is divided between the Rockey grassland in the south and the Rockey forest in the north. It is covered with a pitchstone relief. The parts of Rockey that have vegetation are mostly moorland. There are a couple of small, mostly nameless rivulets running from the top of the hills through the glens towards the sea; some of these are seasonal.
The totality of Rockey and its skerries forms the Eye Islands group.
Rockey's main source of income is tourism. Despite its rather remote location, it is a popular tourist destination for hikers and nature lovers alike. Visits to the island can be arranged by boat, and one can rent a room in the Nightingale Inn, although it is also possible to ask at least a week beforehand whether it is possible to stay on one of the farms instead.
Visitors to the islands have a variety of activities that they can partake in. The most popular of these activities is what attracts most hikers, namely the three hiking routes that branch off of the main road. These routes are renowned for providing stunning views to hikers, as well as plenty of scenery.
It is also possible to join the shepherds during their daily activities, providing another opportunity to explore the island. Shephers and other inhabitants often serve as guides to tourists, providing explanations and history for the areas visited.
The island is also popular with photographers due to its almost untouched natural beauty. Popular photographed landmarks are the island's largest dolmen, the Rockey Forest, and the South End Moor.
Many visitors also come to the island so they can help out the farmers with their activities. This became popular as it is believed that it is a great way to come to rest and peace, and is thus advised and in some cases prescribed to people with high levels of stress. So far this method has proven to be very succesful, and thus this setup remains actively used.
Novelties, specialties and delicatessen
Another source of income for the island is the selling and export of its rare novelties, specialties, and delicatessen.
Popular novelty items are Rockey's postage stamps, which provide an estimated income of kr. 10,000 a year. No more than 20,000 kr. 0.25 stamps are issued each year, and a stamp is sold at kr. 0.50 per stamp in sheets of four (kr. 2) or ten (kr. 5). The design changes each year, thus making past versions of the Rockey stamps more valuable over time. In 2015, a single 1972 Rockey stamp sold for approximately kr. 30,000 to a philatelist who visited the island.
Rockey's specialties include specially made woollen sweaters, hats, scarfs, and rugs. The farmers in Aldmuirc are popular for their woodwork, which are being sold to collectors and interested people worldwide for prices ranging from kr. 5 for a small figurine up to kr. 60,000 for an elaborately carved out chair or bench.
Famous delicatessen that are sold and exported are honey and whisky; especially popular with tourists visiting the islands are jams and compotes. Rockey honey comes in three varieties: heathery honey (from bees held in apiaries on the moors, feeding on heather), grassland honey (from bees kept out in the field, feeding on dandelions, lupines, and bluebottles, amongst others), and forest honey (from bees kept in the Rockey forest, feeding on blossoms and forest flowers).
Rockey is a very tight-knit community, but also very friendly and open to outsiders. Rockeyers have a very strong own identity that they take pride in.
Rockey has never been christianised. As such, it still has festivals according to Old Norse mythology, as a remnant of its inhabitations by vikings. Visitors are always welcome to participate in these activities, and the festivals have always provided a steady stream of tourists.
Tùirsebleòit, anglicised as Turseblewyth, takes place during the first full moon of January and is a minor feast honoring the God Tùir, better known as Thor. On this day, the inhabitants of a townland come together in the townland's largest farm and share an elaborate dinner. For visitors to the island, the townland of Hòigeiscùill provides a feast in the Nightingale Inn.
Dèibh Èisting, anglicised as Dewsting, takes place on 2 February. On this day, the beginning of Spring, farmers go outside to plan where to plant seeds and to count their animals. Small gifts are also exchanged.
Òstàragh, anglicised as Ostrath, takes place on 20 and 21 March in name of the Goddess Eòstre of Spring. The day is celebrated with sweets and cake, and coloured eggs are exchanged as a sign of wishing each other well for the coming season.
Bhàille Pùirgease, anglicised as Walpurgis, takes place from 22 April till 30 April. On the first day, all lights are off and all people stay inside in complete silence, as it is believed that on this night the dead have full sway over the earth. Inside the houses, usually a small fire is lit, and ghost stories are told. The remaining days of the month are venerated as remembrance to Odin's sacrifice when he picked up the runes. At the final stroke of midnight on the last day of April, each farmstead lights a massive bonfire in celebration of the Light. This is then followed by Trimèillichèibh, anglicised as Trimmilkey, where people dance around the bonfires in the celebration of the beginning of Summer.
Midsummer is celebrated on the night of 20 to 21 June. During the night the inhabitants of the island gather at the dolmen in Midhuir, where they light a wickerman. Everybody is allowed to place something in the wickerman; usually this is a diary, or a wish, or a thought that somebody wants to get rid of. The wickerman is lit at midnight, and the inhabitants dance and sing until morning.
Lèighisbleòit, anglicised as Leyisblewyth, takes place the last day of July and the first day of August in celebration of the Goddess Eirdha, by thanking her for the harvest that she has provided. The inhabitants of the island meet up at the dolmen in Midhuir, where they light a bonfire and sing and dance. This marks the beginning of Autumn and the Harvest season.
Màibòin, anglicised as Mabon, is celebrated on 22 and 23 September. On this day, the whole island gathers in the Nightingale Inn to drink mead and discuss the fruits of their work. It is the end of the Harvest season.
Winternights is celebrated from 29 October till 2 November. This holiday marks the beginning of the Winter season. It is a festival of abandon, during which people celebrate their forefathers, but also dress up and dance. Each night bonfires are lit all over the island and songs are sung and instruments are played.
Iùl, anglicised as Yule, takes place over the twelve nights between 20 and 31 December up to the new year. During these days the island is in buzz, people join each other for elaborate dinners, and gifts are again exchanged.