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William (Bill) Ireland was born in 1924 and grew up in Glasgow. He attended the Scottish School of Physical Education at Jordanhill College from 1942 to 1945, and was a member of the Students' Representative Council in his final year. Ireland was a particularly diligent student and took copious notes of the classes in anatomy, hygiene, theory of physical education, history of physical education and theory of games.
After qualifying in 1945, Ireland moved to London and spent his working life at Wallington County Grammar School for Boys. He taught physical education, games and country and Highland dancing.
Ireland worked for the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, teaching at the Summer School in St. Andrews. He served the society as a representative of the London Branch and as a member of the executive. He also taught Scottish Dancing for the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and for the English Folk Dance and Song Society.