Van Morrison sings Ian Adamson's favourite song at historian's funeral

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By Q Radio News and Michael McHugh, Press Association

Van Morrison bade farewell to his old friend with a song as the funeral of "inspirational" Ulster historian and politician Dr Ian Adamson was held in Northern Ireland.

He sang the unionist intellectual's favourite song - Into The Mystic - in front of a hushed congregation at Conlig Presbyterian Church in Co Down.

The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins was present and Dr Adamson's coffin was carried by ex-Formula One racing star Eddie Irvine after he bankrolled his first race.

The politician, medical doctor and historian, who died aged 74, 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.

He was the author of a series of books exploring the origins of Ulster identity and saw the country as the "interface" between Ireland and Scotland.

Close friend Wesley Hutchinson said: "He offered an alternative model to the sectarianism and violence that blighted everyday life for so many."

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

Dr Adamson helped establish the Somme Heritage Centre, which commemorates the sacrifices paid in the trenches by so many from the north of Ireland.

The paediatrician set up community paediatric services in Belfast.

He gave close family friend Sonia Irvine, Eddie's sister, his university medical books when money was tight.

She paid an emotional tribute to him.

"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."


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