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A moving song from Van Morrison at a remarkable gathering to say farewell to Ian Adamson

Politicians from all parties, the President of Ireland and a famous Formula One driver all pay their respects to former Belfast Lord Mayor at funeral.

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Ian Adamson’s wife Kerry walks behind her husband’s coffin

Ian Adamson’s wife Kerry walks behind her husband’s coffin

Former Formula 1 driver Eddie Irvine helps carry Ian Adamson’s coffin

Former Formula 1 driver Eddie Irvine helps carry Ian Adamson’s coffin

Van Morrison was in Conlig to pay his respects at the funeral of Ian Adamson

Van Morrison was in Conlig to pay his respects at the funeral of Ian Adamson

Former SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell with Kerry Adamson

Former SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell with Kerry Adamson

DUP leader Arlene Foster

DUP leader Arlene Foster

Ian Adamson

Ian Adamson

�Kelvin Boyes / Presseye

Irish President Michael D Higgins with his wife Sabina and the Lord Lieutenant of Belfast Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle

Irish President Michael D Higgins with his wife Sabina and the Lord Lieutenant of Belfast Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle

UUP leader Robin Swann

UUP leader Robin Swann

Sinn Fein’s Mairtin O Muilleoir

Sinn Fein’s Mairtin O Muilleoir

Ian Adamson’s wife Kerry walks behind her husband’s coffin

Van Morrison sang a poignant farewell to his close friend Dr Ian Adamson yesterday as mourners brought unionism's mould-breaking pioneer back home to the tiny Co Down village where it all started for the man who was to become a politician, medic, linguist, historian, and author all rolled into one.

Accompanying himself on guitar, an emotional Morrison gave a touching rendition of the 74-year-old former Belfast Lord Mayor's favourite song - Into the Mystic - in front of one of his smallest ever "audiences" packed into the historic Presbyterian church in Conlig where Dr Adamson grew up and which friends said never lost its special place in his affections.

Morrison's Ulster-based American backing singer Dana Masters joined him on the song after earlier delivering a solo on the opening verse of the hymn Amazing Grace.

Outside, the clock on the church tower was running six hours out of kilter but that was in keeping, observers said, with a ground-breaker born before his time in a Northern Ireland which he worked all his life to turn into a more tolerant and inclusive society.

The success of his efforts was underlined yesterday as Dr Adamson's kaleidoscope of diverse interests was reflected in the eclectic mix of mourners in Conlig, from presidents to paramilitaries, from republicans to loyalists and from superstars to 'ordinary' villagers.

The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins made his first border crossing since his re-election to honour Dr Adamson who'd invited him north in the past to enjoy their shared passion for Irish history.

In 2013 he watched at Belfast City Hall as the President shook hands with the late DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley for whom Dr Adamson had been a cultural and heritage adviser as well as his personal physician.

Yesterday Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina hugged Dr Adamson's widow Kerry who carried two white flowers as she walked behind her husband's coffin which had been carried from the church by Formula One star Eddie Irvine who'd earlier publicly thanked his family friend for being his first ever sponsor.

During a Christmas break in Northern Ireland, Eddie visited Dr Adamson and no sooner had he returned to his home in America than he flew back here again for the funeral.

Eddie's sister Sonia almost broke down in church as she paid her own tribute to Dr Adamson who had also supported her in her youth by giving her all his medical books to cut down her financial outlay as she started to study physiotherapy.

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Wife Kerry during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Wife Kerry during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson arrives at Conlig Presbyterian church. Pic by Peter Morrison

Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson arrives at Conlig Presbyterian church. Pic by Peter Morrison

Dr Adamson's wife Kerry is comforted after the funeral service by DUP leader Arlene Foster. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Dr Adamson's wife Kerry is comforted after the funeral service by DUP leader Arlene Foster. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson arrives at Conlig Presbyterian church. Pic by Peter Morrison

Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson arrives at Conlig Presbyterian church. Pic by Peter Morrison

Irish President Michael D Higgins arrives for the funeral of former Mayor of Belfast Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian church. Pic by Peter Morrison

Irish President Michael D Higgins arrives for the funeral of former Mayor of Belfast Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian church. Pic by Peter Morrison

Leader of the UUP Robin Swann attends the funeral of former Mayor of Belfast Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian church. Pic by Peter Morrison

Leader of the UUP Robin Swann attends the funeral of former Mayor of Belfast Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian church. Pic by Peter Morrison

Eddie Irvine former formula one racing driver who is originally from Conlig arrives for the funeral of former Mayor of Belfast Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian church. Pic by Peter Morrison

Eddie Irvine former formula one racing driver who is originally from Conlig arrives for the funeral of former Mayor of Belfast Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian church. Pic by Peter Morrison

Pacemaker Press  14/1/2019
Wife Kerry with Michael D Higgins  during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 14/1/2019 Wife Kerry with Michael D Higgins during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

A photo of Dr Ian Adamson on the order of service for the funeral of former Mayor of Belfast Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian church. Pic by Peter Morrison

A photo of Dr Ian Adamson on the order of service for the funeral of former Mayor of Belfast Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian church. Pic by Peter Morrison

The hearse carrying the coffin of Dr Ian Adamson arrives at Conlig Presbyterian church. Pic by Peter Morrison

The hearse carrying the coffin of Dr Ian Adamson arrives at Conlig Presbyterian church. Pic by Peter Morrison

Jim Wilson and Mairtin O Muilleoir during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Jim Wilson and Mairtin O Muilleoir during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press  14/1/2019
Family and Friends   during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday.
A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish.

Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 14/1/2019 Family and Friends during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press  14/1/2019
Jackie McDonald    during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday.
A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish.

Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 14/1/2019 Jackie McDonald during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press  14/1/2019
Wife Kerry  during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday.
A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish.

Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 14/1/2019 Wife Kerry during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press  14/1/2019
Jim Wilson    during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday.
A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish.

Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 14/1/2019 Jim Wilson during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press  14/1/2019
Van Morrison  during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday.
A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish.

Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 14/1/2019 Van Morrison during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press  14/1/2019
Michael D Higgins  during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday.
A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish.

Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 14/1/2019 Michael D Higgins during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press  14/1/2019
Wife Kerry  with Alasdair McDonnell   during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday.
A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish.

Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 14/1/2019 Wife Kerry with Alasdair McDonnell during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press  14/1/2019
Family and Friends   during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday.
A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish.

Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 14/1/2019 Family and Friends during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press  14/1/2019
Family and Friends   during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday.
A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish.

Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 14/1/2019 Family and Friends during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press  14/1/2019
Family and Friends including Eddie Irvine   during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday.
A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish.

Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 14/1/2019 Family and Friends including Eddie Irvine during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press  14/1/2019
Wife Kerry  during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday.
A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish.

Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 14/1/2019 Wife Kerry during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press  14/1/2019
Wife Kerry  during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday.
A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish.

Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 14/1/2019 Wife Kerry during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press  14/1/2019
Wife Kerry  during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday.
A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish.

Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 14/1/2019 Wife Kerry during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. A politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Known for his passion for culture, he founded the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and also spoke a number of other languages, including Irish. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018

Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down.  The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Dr Adamson's wife Kerry follows his coffin as it leaves the church after the service. 

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018 Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down. The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Dr Adamson's wife Kerry follows his coffin as it leaves the church after the service. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018

Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down.  The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Dr Adamson's coffin leaves the church after the service. 

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018 Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down. The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Dr Adamson's coffin leaves the church after the service. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018

Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down.  The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Dr Adamson's wife Kerry follows his coffin as it leaves the church after the service. 

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018 Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down. The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Dr Adamson's wife Kerry follows his coffin as it leaves the church after the service. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018

Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down.  The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.



Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018 Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down. The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018

Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down.  The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Dr Adamson's wife Kerry is comforted after the funeral service. 

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018 Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down. The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Dr Adamson's wife Kerry is comforted after the funeral service. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018

Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down.  The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell pictured outside the church after the service. 

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018 Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down. The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell pictured outside the church after the service. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018

Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down.  The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Belfast musician Van Morrison, who sang during the service, pictured outside the church. 

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018 Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down. The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Belfast musician Van Morrison, who sang during the service, pictured outside the church. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018

Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down.  The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Irish President Michael D Higgins pictured after the funeral service. 

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018 Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down. The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Irish President Michael D Higgins pictured after the funeral service. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018

Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down.  The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Dr Ian Adamson coffin leaves the church after the funeral service.

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018 Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down. The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Dr Ian Adamson coffin leaves the church after the funeral service. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018

Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down.  The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

F1 racing star Eddie Irvine(right) helps carry the coffin from the church after the service. 

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018 Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down. The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. F1 racing star Eddie Irvine(right) helps carry the coffin from the church after the service. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018

Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down.  The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

F1 racing star Eddie Irvine(right) helps carry the coffin from the church after the service. 

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018 Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down. The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. F1 racing star Eddie Irvine(right) helps carry the coffin from the church after the service. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018

Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down.  The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Loyalists Jim Wilson(left) and Jackie McDonald pictured at the funeral in Conlig. 


Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018 Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down. The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Loyalists Jim Wilson(left) and Jackie McDonald pictured at the funeral in Conlig. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018

Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down.  The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

F1 racing star Eddie Irvine pictured at the funeral in Conlig. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018 Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down. The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. F1 racing star Eddie Irvine pictured at the funeral in Conlig. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018

Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down.  The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

F1 racing star Eddie Irvine pictured at the funeral in Conlig. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018 Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down. The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. F1 racing star Eddie Irvine pictured at the funeral in Conlig. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018

Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down.  The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003.

Former unionist politician Bob McCartney pictured at the funeral in Conlig. 

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th January 2018 Funeral for former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co. Down. The 74-year-old who died last week was a Ulster Unionist Party politician, medical doctor and historian, Dr Adamson served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996/7, high sheriff in 2011 and was an Assembly member for the constituency of East Belfast from 1998 to 2003. Former unionist politician Bob McCartney pictured at the funeral in Conlig. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Wife Kerry during the Funeral of Dr Ian Adamson at Clonlig Presbyterian Church on Monday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

Sonia said her father Edmund senior and Dr Adamson were friends from childhood in Conlig.

She added: "Ian will be deeply missed by our family who flew from different parts of the world to show our love and respect for a truly inspirational man."

Politicians of all shades were in Conlig to pay their respects including the leaders of the Ulster Unionist Party and the DUP, Robin Swann and Arlene Foster.

The former heads of the SDLP and the UK Unionist Party, Dr Alasdair McDonnell and Robert McCartney, were also among the mourners who included the leader of the UDA, Jackie McDonald, and the organisation's ex-commander, Andy Tyrie, who had been a long-time colleague of Dr Adamson in one of the Ulster Scots' groups that he set up, the Ullans Academy.

Sinn Fein's Mairtin O Muilleoir, who said he was proud to have counted Dr Adamson as a friend, also travelled to Conlig as did former leading figures in the UVF and the Red Hand Commando as well as ex-republican prisoners.

Dr Adamson had talked extensively to them all in his bid to break down barriers in Northern Ireland.

At yesterday's service they heard Dr Adamson's friend Wesley Hutchinson call the former east Belfast MLA a "cultural activist" adding: "He offered an alternative model to the sectarianism and violence that blighted everyday life for so many.

"He effected a sea change in loyalist opinion in extending their imaginative co-ordinates in time and space."

Mr Hutchinson said Dr Adamson supported the exploration of the shared history of St Columbanus, an Irish Catholic monk who studied a few miles from Conlig before spreading Christianity throughout Western Europe during the Middle Ages.

He added: "He was able to see a link between an Irish monk and young unemployed loyalists on the Shankill in the 1980s. He was able to use the one to instruct the other.

"Ian's work was based on the premise that the past is not a trap, that it should be used to open up opportunities for dialogue in and on the future."

Mr Hutchinson said Dr Adamson had always challenged stereotypes. He talked of the books his friend had written - including Cruthin from 1974 which was his best known work.

He said his body of literature explored the pre-history of Ulster, giving what Mr Hutchinson termed an alternative narrative of its origins and forming a common identity with the Gaelic past.

"He managed to turn material that might otherwise have seemed obscure into something relevant to the everyday lives of people."

Officials from the Somme Association made the short journey from their museum in Conlig which Dr Adamson was instrumental in establishing as well as helping to restore the Ulster Tower at the battlefield site in France to mark the sacrifices of the soldiers who died in the trenches.

Officials from a number of community organisations based in Conlig were also represented at the funeral.

They said that Dr Adamson had been a constant source of encouragement to them as they campaigned for improvements to their village.

One 84-year-old man, who didn't want to be named, said he had known Ian Adamson all his life.

"You just got a sense from an early age that Ian was going to make something of himself. He always went out of his way to help people and even though his later political career was based largely in Belfast, he always turned up at meetings in Conlig.

"In recent times it was clear that he wasn't too well but that didn't stop him from offering whatever support he could to people here."

The man recalled how Dr Adamson wrote in an online blog of his fond memories of Conlig where his father ran the village shop.

He said that Dr Adamson wrote that he was proud of Conlig and Bangor where he remembered that as a boy what he called the "Scots tongue" was still strong.

In the blog Dr Adamson wrote about Conlig House which was the boyhood home of William James Pirrie who built the Titanic and who went on to become Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1896/97.

Exactly 100 years later, Dr Adamson became Conlig's second Belfast Lord Mayor.

"And that gave him an immense feeling of satisfaction," said the villager.

After yesterday's funeral in Conlig, Dr Adamson who described himself as a British unionist, an Irish royalist and an Ulster loyalist, was buried in Roselawn cemetery in Belfast.

Afterwards friends and family went to the Culloden Hotel near Holywood for refreshments and "to remember the man with the impish sense of humour with the sort of anecdotes that he loved telling," as one mourner said.

"Like the church service, it was a thanksgiving for a life well-lived," he added.

Belfast Telegraph