Born and raised in Southern California, Ireland pursued acting early on. She attended summer drama camp at Idyllwild Arts Academy, a performing arts boarding school, and transferred there for her last two years of high school. After graduating from the Actor's Training program at the University of Hartford in 2000, Ireland moved to New York City and immersed herself in the sprawling off-Broadway theater scene. After making her rite-of-passage TV debut in 2003 on the long-running procedural "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," Ireland was cast as an Army transcriptionist in the well-received remake of "The Manchurian Candidate." She juggled several small but memorable film roles, including her appearance as Anne Hathaway's childhood friend in "Rachel Getting Married," with her burgeoning theatre career. An early high point came in 2009, when the fiery actress received a Best Actress Tony nomination for her portrayal of a dissatisfied twentysomething in "Reasons to be Pretty." The late 2000s saw Ireland's introspective talents reach even bigger audiences. After a brief supporting turn opposite Winslet in the '50s melodrama "Revolutionary Road," a few years later Ireland was cast as Letty, Winslet's put-upon housemaid, in the award-winning HBO mini-series "Mildred Pierce." Still balancing her screen work with her stage career, Ireland landed a multi-episode arc on the left-field hit "Homeland" as conflicted terrorist Aileen Morgan, and a high-profile role as Meryl Streep's adult daughter in the empty-nester romantic drama "Hope Springs." That same year saw her return to Showtime as a sexually adventurous D.A. assistant on the short-lived "Boss" (Starz, 2011-12), and take on the emotionally distant, unnamed accountant at the heart of the low-budget but high-quality "28 Hotel Rooms."