Desmond Mc Court (Des, or Dizzy as I always called him) was one of the most interesting of the hundreds of students who passed through the Department of Geography at The Queen's University of Belfast when I was its head; and I am delighted to contribute this foreword to the Festschrift which he so richly deserves.He graduated in 1946 with honours at the top of the first division of the second class.The external examiner was my revered teacher Professor H. Fleure, who told me that he found in Desmond's scripts On the strength of his dissertation he was awarded a research scholarship and his MA thesis on archaic forms of rural settlement in Ireland, presented in 1947, led to the award of a fellowship and to a Ph D degree in 1950.
The estimates in the Magee submission of the number of students expected in the new university were more modest and much more accurate than those of Lockwood.
Desmond's lively interest in subjects related to geography led him to join the Folk Life Society, and he served on its council from 1968 to 1971.
He was also active in the Ulster Folklife Society and became editor of its Journal.
Old pupils remember him as a most stimulating and humane teacher.
After taking his Ph D he was invited to take up a research fellowship at the University of Reading, but chose instead to accept an invitation to go to Magee College, Londonderry, to establish a department ofgeography.
Beginning in 1952 with two students, by 1966 it was the largest department in the College, with 120 students, and he served on many college committees.
His promotion to a chair was frustrated by the uncertainty over the location of the New University of Ulster.
In 1957-58 he was given leave of absence to go to Yale University as Visiting Professor under the Rockefeller Foundation, and would have stayed there, but his interests at home were broadening and he felt a commitment to his growing department.ground and Desmond and the students joined with John Hume in arguing for the up-grading of Magee to university status.
This was supported by the citizens of Derry of all classes and creeds and one wonders how much bitterness and discord might have been avoided if they had not been over-ruled.