The Irish willow is steeped in history and has many myths, legends and folklore stories tied to it. Saille (willow) is the 4th constonant of the Ogham Alphabet, which is earliest known form of writing in Ireland. A tree alphabet naming all the Irish native trees which started somewhere between the 2nd and 4th centuries AD.
The Irish legend of Leinster King Labhraidh Loingseach tells an enchanting tale about a King with horse’s ears and a Willow harp. A young hairdresser ordered to the court could not keep the Kings secret any longer and whispered the news of his enormous ears to the Willow tree to ease his heavy burden, unfortunately the tree was cut to make a harp for the King’s court but on its first note shouted ‘ the king’s ears, the king’s ears’.
Willow is well known for its long, pliable shoots, which are used in basket making and wickerwork. Wicker comes from the old English meaning ‘to bend or yield’.