Notable as both a rugby player and a politician, Ringland served as a winger for the Ballymena RFC, Ulster, and Ireland national rugby teams and went on to co-chair the Northern Ireland Conservatives and to vice-chair the East Belfast Branch of the Ulster Unionist Party.
During the 1980s, he was capped four times for the British and Irish Lions. He later studied law at Queen's University Belfast and worked as a solicitor.
For his work on behalf of the Peace Players International interfaith tolerance movement, Ringland received an ESPY Arthur Ashe for Courage Award.
He was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His marriage to Colleen Ringland produced three children.
He resigned from the Ulster Unionist Party following a public squabble with party leader Tom Elliott.