Last Saturday we were in Mizotsh, which has now become the center of the Territorial Community (OTG) of the same name in Rivne district in Rivne oblast, located between Zdolbuniv, Dubno and Ostroh.
A beautiful place with a rich multicultural heritage, which is not used; in Mizotsh there is a park, designed by “our” Irishman Dionysius McClair (1762-1853).
The park is on the balance of the Nature Reserve Fund of Ukraine; the park itself is in bad shape, but the place is beautiful, on the shore of a pond, the local boarding school nearby, and most important for us: There are some ruins of buildings, which were in use under McClair, among them the remains of a greenhouse.
Once, in times of McClair, a variety of tropical plants grew there, including fig palms. In winter, the greenhouse was heated by large furnaces. And in the 60-80s of the XX century it was used a restaurant called “Blue Danube”.
Our idea is to beautify a part of the park, where there used to be the greenhouse, to preserve its ruins and to come up with a creative landscape solution for the surrounding area (the slope that leads to the shore of the pond).
We want to gather landscape designers, botanists and artists from Ireland and Ukraine, organize international volunteer exchanges and, as a result, open a new park area for culture and recreation for Mizotchans, community guests and tourists.
The main object in this part of the park, in addition to the greenhouse, will be the renewed stage, which appeared in Soviet times, but fits well into the landscape and can become a unique place for various cultural events.
Our McClair promotion began in 2019, when we launched the McClair Project and reached the first partners in Ireland, with whom we are still in contact: the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland (Dublin), the Association of Irish Landscape Designers (GLDA, Dublin) and Westmeath County Council (the region, where McClair was born).
We hope for close cooperation with local authorities in Ukraine and for the support of sponsors and funds, to which we will submit our project.
So far we only have an idea, but we are sure that with joint efforts, it will become reality.
There are surely only a few places in Ukraine where there is such a cultural footprint of an Irishman; for Mizotsh the Park and McClair are a unique chance to revive the glory of the former town and reach a new level of work on community development and international cooperation.