There is little in his life of any controversy, and his music itself is conventionally pleasant much more than adventurous. There is no such thing as an Ireland symphony, and he never wielded the baton of a conductor, though he did run to a single piano concerto.
Hats off to Naxos, then, for presenting his more extensive catalogue of chamber music and proving that for all his perceived limitations, Ireland was more than just an occasional associate of the likes of Stanford, Britten and Moeran. Here are all three of his Piano Trios, plus four short duos for violin and piano, covering an extended period of over 30 years in the first half of the 20th century. In fact, the Trios alone take in that entire time-span, with the third and longest coming almost 20 years later than his work on any of the others.
It was an eventful time in history, and it is tempting to listen out for musical signs of his perceptions of life as he knew it. But in the end Ireland remained introverted and undemonstrative, and perhaps in respecting that we may better understand how fine the music he left was.