Ireland (Hutcheson), Francis (1721–84), composer, was born in Dublin 13 August 1721, the son of Francis Hutcheson (d. 1746), a presbyterian minister who ran a private school in Dublin between about 1716 and 1730 before serving as professor of moral philosophy at Glasgow University (1730–46). Francis the younger was awarded his Master of Arts in 1744 at Glasgow, where he took a medical degree in 1750. He was university lecturer (a post which later became a professorship) in chemistry at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) (1760–67). In 1761 he was granted the degree of Doctor in Physic at TCD. He was consulting physician to the Rotunda hospital (1774–84), and acted twice as president of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) in 1777 and 1780. There has been some confusion about the identity of Francis Hutcheson on account of his spelling his name both ‘Hutcheson’ and ‘Hutchinson’, the existence of a younger Francis Hutchinson who graduated from Trinity College in the late 1740s, and uncertainty as to whether references in both medical and musical circles to ‘Dr Hutcheson/Hutchinson’ all refer to the one person.
Francis Hutcheson was a keen amateur violinist and composed under the name Francis Ireland. He is probably the violin player Dr Hutchinson who was a founder member of the Musical Academy for ladies and gentlemen established in 1757 by Lord Mornington (qv) and Kane O'Hara (qv), in which case he is also likely to be the Dr Hutchinson (one of four ‘Gentlemen of Approved Taste’) appointed in 1769 to a committee established to organise the Rotunda hospital's fund-raising concerts. He is not listed in this position in the years immediately following, but in May 1774 he was appointed to the board of governors of the hospital, and served on the music committee until his death on 5 September 1784. The music he composed under the pseudonym Francis Ireland comprises glees, catches and madrigals of considerable charm and merit for which he won three prizes from the Noblemen's and Gentlemen's Catch Club in 1771–3. They were published in both Dublin and London in numerous contemporary collections including Thomas Warren's series A collection of catches, canons and glees (London, c. 1763–94) and Henry Mountain's The gentleman's catch book (Dublin, c. 1790). The continued publication of selected works long after his death, and the presence of considerable numbers of manuscript copies of his music in the British Library and the Library of Congress in Washington also suggest his music enjoyed unusually wide popularity for an amateur composer.