My copy of the The Irish Songbook says:
This is an excellent example of many songs that serve both as love lyrics and rebel song. The scene described refers to the 1783 rising. The words are the work of Robert Dwyer Joyce, a professor of English Literature at Catholic University at Dublin. In danger of arrest for rebel activities, Joyce fled to the United States. He later returned to Ireland and died in Dublin in 1883.
Feel free to mention or link any favorite Irish songs or poems in the comments. Happy St. Patrick's Day!