Published Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 9:22 AM

Wise people who propose to build a new country house in the Clare region often send for Councilor P.J. Kelly to come and have a look at their site before they lay one block.

The lively and likeable councilor is a man of many parts, and dowsing or divining with rods and wires is just one of his arts. He has a national reputation in that field. It is well deserved.

I know the man and like him a lot. He lives in Lissycasey and that village, which is the village of the famed Fanny O'Dea's pub, is, incidentally, one of the longest villages in Ireland from end to end. It seems to go on forever.

It's maybe a bit ironic that the Fianna Fail councilor, when he sits in the council chamber, is so well versed in the small print of our convoluted planning processes in relation to housing that there are few experts or engineers with more knowledge. The fact he is also witty and sharp of tongue means that council debates in which he features get a lot of coverage in the local media.

I think he was formerly a schoolteacher. He is a "horsie man" with a lot of equine knowledge and a local politician to his fingertips. You could write a book about P.J. Kelly, but here we will stick to his dowsing expertise.

The men who send for him to survey their new house sites, for example, would not proceed with the work if P.J. advised against it. He's not just a diviner who can discover a spring well for you. The skills are far deeper than that.

He can discover the existence of leylines of underground energies over which it may not be healthy to live. He can track and trace these leylines with great accuracy, and accordingly advise his client exactly where on the site the house should be sited.

He can even go into existing homes, ascertain if there is a leyline underneath any part of the building and, if there is, advise on remedies such as moving a bedroom from one area to another.

As an aside, I can remember interviewing a similar talented dowser in County Galway many years ago. He was a parish priest in the Tynagh region, greatly loved by his people.

He could find drowned people through the use of a pendulum, but he also surveyed homes of his parishioners, especially if there was ill-health constantly under the roof, particularly depression.

Again bedrooms were moved to other parts of the building on his advice, and I also recall him telling me that he often told people to paint the undersides of beds, tables, chairs and other furniture with thick coats of red oxide paint. It seems this dissipated adverse energies and offered protection.

In modern Ireland we have the radon surveys and radon protection systems against underground radiation, and a wide awareness of the risk. But Father Hawkins was away ahead of his time.

Likewise, P.J. Kelly has remarkable skills at a deeper level, if you like, than discovering wells or even leylines.

He can certainly use these skills on horses that are unwell, either through discovering an injury or through finding they are being kept in an unsuitable environment because of the local radiation levels.

And men who are not gullible have told me how he helped them to get rid of ailments, usually of a muscular nature. In one case an executive who had been suffering from intense back pain, especially while driving, said his pain totally disappeared after P.J. told him to remove his wallet from his hip pocket when on the road. It was as simple as that.

But the reason I mention the man at all is because of something bright that is developing in his home area of Lissycasey even as you read this. Some time ago a local landowner asked P.J. to discover a good spring well for him on a site on which he proposed to build a house.

P.J. arrived on site with his rods and wires and hey, presto, quickly discovered not just a spring well but, on subsequent investigation, as pristine pure a spring well as there is anywhere in Europe. It is apparently like manna from Mother Earth.

Matters developed quickly from there. Now a company has been formed to market the Lissycasey water commercially, and there is high excitement about the development not just in the village but in the whole of Clare and beyond.

The day might quickly come when Lissycasey will come as lightly to the tongue as Ballygowan or Pernod. And, in an original twist, it is to be marketed in biodegradable plastic bottles that the company will manufacture themselves. They don't do things by halves in Lissycasey.

I'm telling ye the story because there is a scarcity of good news stories on the jobs front over here just now. And also so you will recognize the good Clare spring water soon when you see it on the shelf on your local supermarket.