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Ian Adamson

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Subject: Michael Copeland, Lord Mayor of Belfast, John McMichael, Conlig, 1944 in Northern Ireland
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Ian Adamson

Ian Adamson
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for Belfast East
In office
25 June 1998 – 26 November 2003
Preceded by New Creation
Succeeded by Michael Copeland
Personal details
Born (1944-06-28) 28 June 1944
Political party Ulster Unionist Party
Alma mater Queen's University Belfast
Profession Paediatrician
Cllr Ian Adamson OBE

(born 1944) is a former Lord Mayor of Belfast. He is a member of the Ulster Unionist Party and is a retired medical doctor.


A councillor on Belfast City Council from 1989 until 2011, Adamson was lord mayor in 1996.

He studied at Bangor Grammar School then Queen's University Belfast becoming a registrar in pediatrics at the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children and the Ulster Hospital.

He claims to speak ten languages, including Scots, Ulster Gaelic, Lakota Sioux and Swahili. He is founder chair of the Ulster-Scots Language Society, and remains a vice-president. In liaison with Professor Robert Gregg in 1992, he founded the Ulster-Scots (Ullans) Academy.

He is the author of several books on subjects such as folk poetry, history and religion. His 1974 book Cruthin, garnered controversy for its claims that the ancient Cruthin were a pre-Gaelic people who were driven from Ireland to Scotland and that their modern descendants are the Ulster Scots Protestants who merely returned to their old homeland during the 17th-century Plantation of Ulster. Few historians accept his interpretations, with some accusing him of creating a sectarian narrative in which northern Protestants have a prior to claim to Ireland, but Adamson denies this, claiming his interpretation of history offers "the hope of uniting the Ulster people at last".[1][2] He also wrote Identity of Ulster (1982), and other works dealing with the ethnology of a group of pre-Celtic settlers in Ulster whose mentality he claims still pervades the modern province.

He is president of Belfast Civic Trust, founder chair of The Somme Association, founder secretary of the Farset Youth and Community Development, Belfast. Adamson is also a former member of the boards of many other local public sector and voluntary organisations, including The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Ulster Museum, The Titanic Trust, The Eastern Health and Social Services Board, The Ultach Trust and a serving brother, Venerable Order of Saint John.


  • Cruthin: The Ancient Kindred, (Newtownards: Nosmada 1974) ISBN 0-9503461-0-1
  • Dalaradia, Kingdom of the Cruthin, ISBN 0-948868-26-0
  • Identity of Ulster: The Land, the Language and the People, (Belfast : Pretani 1982, 2nd edn. 1987) ISBN 0-948868-04-X
  • Bangor, Light of the world, (Bangor: Fairview Press 1979) ISBN 0-948868-06-6
  • [ed.,] Sir Samuel Ferguson, Congal ([q. pub.] 1980)
  • The Battle of Moira, (Newtownards: Nosmada 1980)
  • Ulster People: Ancient, Medieval and Modern, (Bangor: Pretani Press 1991) ISBN 0-948868-13-9
  • 1690: William and the Boyne, (1995)

See also David Hume, David McDowell, eds., Cuchulain: The Lost Legend (Belfast 1994).


  1. ^ Gallagher 2007, pp. 96-97
  2. ^ Nic Craith 2002, pp. 93-113
Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
New creation
MLA for Belfast East
1998 - 2003
Succeeded by
Michael Copeland
Civic offices
Preceded by
Hugh Smyth
Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast
Succeeded by
Alasdair McDonnell
Preceded by
Eric Smyth
Lord Mayor of Belfast
Succeeded by
Alban Maginness
Preceded by
Christopher Stalford
High Sheriff of Belfast
Succeeded by
May Campbell
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