The singer hears a young man, distracted, lamenting his slain Annie Moore. He tells how the Protestants were marching. Soldiers were dispatched and fired on the marchers. Annie was slain. The Protestants and her family lament and treat her as a hero
Morton-Ulster's text and quotations from news accounts have the year as 1835. Bodleian broadside 2806 b.11(174) has 1836. - BS
Whereas Sam Henry's text has the date "forty-five."
Of course, there was frequently trouble on July 12 in Ulster. Is it possible that the story originated in 1835 and was updated to describe more recent events?
The 1820s-1840s were a period of significant gains for Catholic rights in Ireland. 1829 saw Catholic "emancipation," allowing them every political right open to Protestants of equivalent position. The 1830s saw reforms in education and taxation. In 1840, Daniel O'Connell formed the National Repeal Association, to press for the repeal of the Anglo-Irish Union.
By 1843, though, things were getting out of hand. In 1843, the government foolishly banned a Repeal rally. Soon after, O'Connell was arrested, and convicted by an all-Protestant jury.
Pressures were building up; they would result in a rebellion in 1848. (The famines, of course, added to the pressure.) Toss in the famines of 1845, and riots would be a natural consequence. . - RBW