We always take water for granted, especially in the 21st century, but it was not always the case. I am going to describe the importance of a water diviner in rural Ireland or to give him another name; a dowser. Some of the younger generation would never have heard of a water diviner. When one was looking for a spring (a spring is a stream of water which runs under ground) one would look for a water diviner (some were more skilled than others) having got a reputable one the said gentleman would arrive, wearing a pair of leather soled boots or shoes. He would also have with him a forked stick which was of hazel or black sally. He would then go into a suitable field and the task would commence. Taking about eight yards at a time with the rod, one end of the rod in each hand, held about chest high, he would travel up and down the field. If he struck oil (I mean water) the stick which was held horizontal would point to the ground, it was impossible to hold it in it's original position. He would then put a mark at that place, walk out at right angles from it and start the process all over again to determine the depth of the spring.
There was a family by the name of Mc Connell who lived in the Killygordon area, they were all famous as water diviners, some of them moved to Letterkenny and who knows maybe the gift traveled with them.
Shallow wells are now a thing of the past. Farmers now call in a firm that bores a six inch hole to a depth of between 200-600 feet and they will guarantee a supply of water. It's a pity the old customs are dying out, but we have to keep up with the times.
Where would we be without water. We can survive without food much longer than we can without water. Everything needs water to survive and we do not appreciate it. It's the same water that we use from the day of creation, only that it has been recycled over and over again.