The Sally Gardens 1
08/03/2021     |     Music

The Sally Gardens

County Mayo Cellist Patrick Dexter plays “The Sally Gardens”, a traditional melody whose piercing simplicity belies more complex origins. The melody is derived from an ancient Irish song “The Maids of Mourne Shore”. Later, this melody became associated with the 1889 poem “Down by the Salley Gardens” by William Butler Yeats.

“Salley” or “sally” comes from the Gaelic word saileach which means willow. Thus the "The Salley Gardens” of the piece’s title are willow gardens, places where centuries ago it was traditional for young lovers to meet.