Monday, December 18, 2017

A Christmas Special

A Christmas Special.

The African adage - 'It takes a village to raise a child' took on a real meaning at the Christmas Meeting of Speakeasy Toastmasters Club.

The "accidental theme" of this meeting was childhood, be it a child's Christmas in Ireland or a child's formative years in Rural Nigeria. 

Delivering her 'Ice Breaker' speech, new member, Celine O'Shea presented a frank and fascinating account of her childhood years in her native Nigeria. She eloquently asserted how her ten years growing up in a small village, playing with clay, molded her life and her values. It was a childhood without many of the things that we take for granted - running water, electricity and school books. Despite her many travels to Nigeria's capital city, to Cyprus, London and Ireland, the core of her character was created in that tiny rural village. 
Anne O'Donovan, Mary Buckley, Celine O'Shea & Bridie O' Connell
The Christmas childhood thread continued to be woven in Bobby Buckley's hugely enjoyable speech - '' The Bay Window Christmas Tree". It was a tale of vanity in 1950's Mallow and  his mother keeping up appearances by fitting a Bay Window to the family home in The Spa. But a window of such dimensions requires an equally imposing Christmas Tree! It fell to Bobby to rescue the situation and restore domestic harmony, following his father's futile attempt. This speech evoked nostalgia for a Mallow long since vanished, with it's references to the Beet Factory, O'Flynn Stores and Ardleys Bicycle Shop. 

Mary Moynihan presented a beautifully evocative interpretation of Patrick Kavanagh's - "A Christmas Childhood". This popular poem is filled with beautiful imagery of a rustic Christmas. "The music of milking" and "One side of the potato pit was white with frost" are just two of word pictures that the poet painted in this wonderful poem. 

Finally, Don McSweeney told his tale - "My life as an elf". Set in his childhood years in the the town of Castleisland, Don held a very important role in his family's Toy Shop. He served as elf and toy advisor. His "job"  began in February when the toy companies held their trade exhibitions. This was a time when parents placed deposits on Christmas Toys before they made the big purchase. Don had a busy time in the packaging department and spent very little time on the shelf! 

Toastmaster or Chairperson of the Meeting was Liam Flynn of Millstreet. Now celebrating what he describes as "eleven great years in Speakeasy", Liam set the tone for the Meeting and introduced each speaker with aplomb. 

Topicsmaster was Verna Byrne. In stark contrast to Liam, Verna is in Speakeasy for a short twelve months. She presented a varied selection box of topics - ranging from Seasonal subjects like "Your favourite Christmas song". Songs like "Fairytale of New York," "Merry Christmas Everybody"  and Joni Mitchell's "River" were popular choices. A topic that provoked a great response was "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?" 

At the meeting's conclusion, Bridie O'Connell, in her role as General Evaluator presented awards to Mary Buckley, Best Evaluation ; Kieran Butler, Best Topic ;Bobby Buckley, Best Speaker. 

Speakeasy Toastmasters Club will take a little break for Christmas but will return in the New Year. As we ponder our resolutions for 2018, why not consider learning a new and valuable skill. Speakeasy Toastmasters is dedicated to helping it's members develop their communication skills in a relaxed, friendly environment. We look forward to seeing you in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM on Thursday, 11th January. 

In the meantime, from all in Speakeasy we wish you a peaceful and happy Christmas. 

For more information, check out our website Or visit us on Facebook. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Festive Meeting

Speakeasy Toastmasters Club will conclude it's Meetings Programme for 2017 on Thursday, 14th of December in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM.
In keeping with the season that's in it, it will have a festive atmosphere. It will have speeches, entertainment, fun and food. 

Recently, Club members have received quite a lot of feedback from the public who read about Speakeasy meetings in the 'local newspapers'. We suggest that you 'take the next step'. Our doors are always open to guests, the welcome mat is laid out, so come on in. As always, guests are never put on the spot and required to speak,unless you choose to do so. Nor, will you be required to kiss a stranger under the mistletoe.

Our aim is to help our members to communicate with confidence and ease in a relaxed environment.This could be the opportunity to make your New Year's Resolution early - learn a new skill that will have life long benefits.

Recently, RTÉ Radio broadcast a feature on the popular 'Documentary on One' series called 'The little mouse in the corner'. It's maker, Pauline Dunne, details her experiences of being an introvert. She details her decision to join a Toastmasters Club and her commitment to make her 'Ice Breaker' speech. There are many people like Pauline, who have taken that step to assert themselves and have found their voices through Toastmasters. Speakeasy has a motto that the next person who joins our Club is the member who may benefit most from Toastmasters. 

2017 was another very successful year for Speakeasy with many highlights. In March, we held a fascinating Theme Night on The Sixties. Hippy haircuts, flares and flowers were the order of the night. Our last meeting was the Schools Public Speaking Competition, which attained the highest standard of speaking in it's twelve year history. 

In Speech Contests, Bobby Buckley, Pat Sexton and Marie Fitzpatrick represented the club in the Division B(North Munster) Final last April. In November , Pat Sexton competed in The British and Irish District Final of the Table Topics Contest in Sheffield.In November, also,  Jason Fitzgerald represented the Club in the European Union Soapbox Competition Final in Dublin Castle. 

Individual members  achieved recognition for their participation in Toastmasters. Club President, Helsa Giles was awarded Division B Toastmaster of the Year. Michael Cronin achieved the Distinguished Toastmaster Award which acknowledged his contribution to the organisation. He was also the recipient of the Jerry Mulcahy Award for his achievements and commitment to the Speakeasy Club. 

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday, 14th December in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM for our Christmas Special. 

For more information on the Club , please visit our website or follow us on Facebook. Alternatively, you can contact Helsa Giles, Club President, 083 8858848.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Kanturk supreme in Schools Speech Contest.

Kanturk is making a habit of winning. Their G.A.A. Club had a double triumph in the County Football and Hurling Championships. And now their Secondary Schools did a clean sweep in the Annual Speakeasy Toastmasters Schools Public Speaking Competition.

The Best Individual Speaker was Darragh Healy-Fitzgerald, representing Scoil Mhuire while the Best Overall Team was Coláiste Treasa.Many observers believe that the standard displayed by all contestants was the highest seen in the twelve years of the Competition.
Darragh-Healy Fitzgerald with Club President Helsa Giles.

Darragh Healy-Fitzgerald is the first pupil from Scoil Mhuire to win the top prize.  Darragh, who hails from Liscarroll gave a speech about the evils of prejudice entitled - 'Birds of a feather - stereotype together'. Darragh's message was pithy and profound - 'If you judge the book by the cover, you will fail to read the words within'. 

Second Prize went to Charlotte Giles of Coláiste Treasa. She based her speech around the beautiful words of Nelson Mandela - 'There is no passion to be found in living a life less than the one you are capable of living'. It was a moving and thoughtful reflection on the value of mental health.
Charlotte Giles with Club President Helsa Giles.
In third place was Queensly Erhaber, St. Mary's Mallow who addressed the ever topical subject of 'Terrorism'. She drew parallels between the actions of gunmen in tragedies like Las Vegas, Sandy Hook School and the church killings by Dylan Roof and what we classify as terrorism. 
She challenged us as to why all shootings aren't classified for what they are - acts of terrorism.
Queensly Erhaber with Club President Helsa Giles.
Also participating in the Competition were speakers from Nagle Ríce, Doneraile, Davis College and the Patrician Academy, Mallow.

The Club wish to express our continued gratitude to Mallow Credit Union for their generous sponsorship of this event. 

Speakeasy will round off their Meetings Programme for 2017 with our Christmas Meeting on Thursday, 14th December. As always, we will have usual meeting but with a festive feel. So, if you wish to experience Speakeasy in a slightly different mode, why not exercise your right to party at our Christmas Meeting in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00pm. As a guest you will be very welcome and, who knows, it may inspire you to make a Toastmasters New Year's resolution. 
For more information, check out the website or follow us on Facebook. Alternatively you can contact Helsa Giles, 083 8858848.