Is Down by the Sally Gardens a folk song? Perhaps the tune is, but the words by Yeats are less than 150 years old... however, it FEELS like a folk song!
Steven from Ireland is pretty sure this is NOT an English song, but an Irish tune:
Perhaps I might be wrong here, but the song “The Sally Gardens” is an Irish song, not an English song. It was written in 1889, before Ireland became independent from the United Kingdom.
It could technically be described as a British song, because at the time, Ireland was being governed from London.
This would, however, completely ignore the social and cultural background of the country at the time.
Yeats was among those at the forefront of an Irish cultural revival which was taking place at the time. This was a response to 200 years or more of repression of Irish language, music, sport, poetry etc.
There may be many versions of the song recorded by English musicians. This tends to happen with most folk songs.
Irish, Scottish, American, English folk musicians borrow songs and instrumental pieces from each other. But the origins of a piece should not be lost.
Here is my own piano accompaniment for this lovely song:
Please scroll down the page for the download links.
If I have time, I'll make more keys available for this piano accompaniment.
Meantime, here is another lovely rendition of Salley Gardens, this time a vocal version, by Laura Wright:
What is a "salley garden"? A garden full of willows.