The 27-year-old linked up with the Potters on loan last summer, before making his switch to the Britannia Stadium permanent during the January transfer window.
When asked if he felt that Hughes had rescued his career, Ireland told Sky Sports News: "Absolutely, those are the first words that came out of my mouth when I got the call.
"I would have done anything to get the chance to come here. I'm really grateful that I have. I'm 27 and there's so much more I want to do in football.
"I'm still exactly the same player. I've always had a lot to offer, I've always been enthusiastic and hungry."
Ireland has scored three goals in 24 appearances for Stoke this season.