Paternal grandfather Thomas

The composer’s grandfather on his father’s side was Thomas Ireland (b. 30 April 1785). This Ireland originated from Strathmiglo, a small village near Cupar in Fife, a town where the principal trade was the manufacture of brown linen, initially on hand looms, subsequently in power loom factories. Thomas married Mary Keddie, and two sons can be traced with some uncertainty: Ireland’s father Alexander, born 9 May 1810, and a much younger sibling Thomas, born 17 September 1821. Grandfather Thomas left Fife for Edinburgh, where he set up in business as a linen merchant . Other Irelands remained in Cupar. A map of Cupar from 1820 shows a member of the family living to the south of the town:

Map of Cupar

Other sources show another John Ireland working as a jobbing gardener in Cupar, living in South Toll.


Westwood’s Parochial Directory for the counties of Fife and Kinross (1866). Cupar-Fife, A. West wood, and Edinburgh, John Menzies.

Wood, J. (1828). Descriptive Account of the principal towns of Scotland, Edinburgh, W.& A.K. Johnston.


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