Born in Glasgow in 1927 to Irish parents, Pearse Hutchinson was raised in Dublin and studied at University College Dublin. He worked as a translator in Geneva in the early 1950s, and subsequently lived in Spain for nearly a decade.
Hutchinson published a series of translations from Italian, Catalan and Galaico-Portuguese. His collections of poetry, in Irish and English, include Tongue Without Hands (1963), Faoistín Bhacach (1968), Expansions (1969), Watching the Morning Grow (1973), The Frost Is All Over (1975), Climbing the Light (1985), Le Cead na Gréine (1989), The Soul that Kissed the Body (1991) and Barnsley Main Seam (1995).
With Melita Cataldi, he translated into Italian an anthology of medieval Irish lyrics, Antica Lirica Irlandese (Einaudi,Turin, 1981). Books of his poetry were translated into Castilian in 1991, Italian in 1997, and Galician in 2002. His Collected Poems was published on his 75th birthday in 2002, and Done into English, a selection of his translations was published in 2003.
For many years he wrote a column in Irish for the RTÉ Guide, and he received the Butler Award for Irish writing in 1969. A volume of essays about his work, From Findrum to Fisterra: Reading Pearse Hutchinson, co-edited by Philip Coleman and Maria Johnston was published by the Irish Academic Press in 2011. He was a founder and co-editor of the literary journal Cyphers.
Before his death on 14 January 2012 he lived in Rathgar, Dublin.