The town park in Borrisokane is being held up as a model for Russian towns and cities to copy. A delegation of 22 Russian engineers and architects involved in building public parks in Russia visited Borrisokane to see for themselves what has been created by the volunteers of the local Town Park Committee and people of Borrisokane.
The Russian visitors, who are from throughout Russia but who all work for a firm based in Moscow, were highly impressed at what has been achieved by a voluntary organisation working on a shoestring budget.
While the weather was anything but summer like, the park was looking its best thanks to the efforts of a team of local people who turned out to prepare flower beds, cut grass, strim and to do anything that was necessary to enhance the visitors’ experience.
The Russians were briefed on all the works carried out by the local committee over the past nine years, and in keeping with the renowned hospitality of Borrisokane people, halfway through their park visit, the commitee had arranged a table of refreshments comprised of Irish beverages, accompanied by the music of All-Ireland button accordion champion Kealin McGrath and his father, Brendan.
The Russians also enjoyed watching and participating with local youngsters who casually played hurling in the midst of the gathering.
Beneath the Russian and Irish flags, town park chairman Joe Murphy formally welcomed the visitors. The Russians replied that they were delighted with the welcome and the achievements of the local people in creating the park.
To mark the visit, a tree was planted by the Russian visitors. The Russians also announced that they would like to create a traditional Russian plantation of birch trees (about 20 birch trees in a circle) in Borrisokane Town Park next year and committed themselves to returning.
Discussions also took place on establishing a regular link or twinning arrangement with a Russian town or city with a view to having student exchanges, possible business links and further visits.
The combined assembly of Tipperary hosts and Russian visitors were then led by the Mayor of Borrisokane, Darragh McKenna, to The Yanks Inn for a meal, more refreshments, more talking and friendship-making - all of which was helped along with traditional tunes from the McGrath musicians.
This unique event in Borrisokane’s history, bringing people together from opposite ends of Europe, sharing visions of community recreation, will hopefully be the start of a new and positive relationship between Borrisokane and Russia.