Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Victorious on "The Double"!

It's a bit like waiting for a bus to come. It's raining, it seems to be taking forever. Civilisations have risen and fallen in less time than that. And then, two buses arrive together. For years, Speakeasy Toastmasters have longed for a top place on the winners podium at the District Spring Conference in one or the other of the big competitions - the International Speech Contest or the Speech Evaluation Contest. And last weekend at the District 71 Spring Conference in Cork, the unbelievable double was achieved. 

The packed attendance at the Clayton Hotel, Silver Springs rose to applaud the achievements of two Speakeasy members. In the International Speech Contest, Deirdre Linehan engaged in verbal jousting with nine of the most accomplished speakers in Ireland and the United Kingdom. It was a thoroughly fascinating contest with very little deviation in quality between ten brilliant speeches. Anne Dooley, a native of County Clare but representing Warrington Toastmasters in the UK, delivered an emotionally uplifting speech - "Take that chance" which chronicled her struggles as a young immigrant in London. Holly Blake of Carrigaline referenced her experiences with the homeless in London in a moving presentation - "Always, always be a little bit kinder". Colm McGlade of Rathfarnham delivered a touching tribute to his mother in "A Reason to Live". 

However, Deirdre, representing Fáilte and Speakeasy Toastmasters lifted the roof off the Convention Centre with her rendition of "DOB's Army". And in so doing, lifted the ultimate prize! She becomes only the second Cork representative in the forty years of the International Speech Contest to win the award District 71 title. Déirdre will now go forward to represent Ireland and the UK in the World Semi-Finals in Chicago in August. We send her our every best wish as she strives to achieve the title of World Champion Public Speaker.

In the Speech Evaluation Contest, Pat Sexton emerged victorious at the fourth time of asking. Facing stiff opposition from competitors from Cork, Tipperary, Dublin, Glasgow and the North of England, Pat's critique of Laura Bruce's "Give up the house cleaning" won over the minds and perhaps the hearts of the adjudicators. He becomes the only Cork representative ever to win this elusive title. 

Victories of this magnitude are extremely rare. Yet, at each and every Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting, important "little victories" happen. It could be the guest who answers a topic, or the member presenting an" Ice-breaker"speech,or even acting as the Chairperson of the meeting. It is everyone who takes part and gives it their best shot. 

With that in mind, we invite you to attend our next meeting in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday, 17th May at 8.00PM. Guests are always welcome and are not obliged to speak unless they wish to do so. The Rolling Stones may be playing in Croke Park but we can give you satisfaction or even a "honky Tonk" woman. We look forward to seeing you. 

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Another bountiful meeting

"Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves, blood at the root."

Not for the first time this year, important historical events formed the backbone of the recent meeting of Speakeasy Toastmasters. In his speech, "Strange Fruit", Pat Sexton recalled the fateful night that the legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday sang"Strange Fruit" for the first time. He then chronicled the subsequent impact of the song. "Time" magazine named it as the most important song of the Twentieth Century. It has been described as "declaration of war - the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement". In graphic detail, "Strange  Fruit" describes the appalling practice of "Lynching " which was rampant in Southern States of America in the first half of the last century.

History of a more local kind was addressed by Mary Moynihan as she delivered " The Oratorical Speech ". The Oratorical Speech is synonymous with legendary speeches by Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill. However, Mary chose the address given by Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, on the Twenty - sixth of April, 2016 to comemmerate the 1916 Easter Rising. Mary delivered a moving interpretation of the President's address to the relatives of the fallen in the 1916 Rising.

Toastmasters Meetings can act as a workshop, where members can hone their speeches for more effective delivery. This was the case with Deirdre Linehan who reprised her Contest winning presentation "Dob's Army". She now goes forward to the District 71(Britain and Ireland) Final on Saturday, 12th May in the Silver Springs Clayton Hotel, Cork.

Speakeasy was privelaged to witness the "Icebreaker" Speech from Vincent Harris. A native of Kerry but now domiciled in Banteer, Vincent light heartedly confessed his carnivorous lifestyle and his career as an inventor. We look forward to many more revelations in future speeches.

The Topicsmaster of the meeting was Michael Cronin who challenged us to recall our Summer Holidays while growing up. For Patricia Buckley, it was Youghal which was a popular choice for people in Mallow. For Bobby Buckley, it was summers in Thurles with the sea nowhere in sight. Bridie O'Connell spoke about the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland's Ancient East. Maria Connolly painted a beautiful picture of Thailand. Don McSweeney spoke about the over used expression "it is a national disgrace!" Other topics that provoked reactions were the use of sun cream and the price of alcohol. 

At the meeting's conclusion, the General Evaluator, Tony O'Regan presented awards to Ray Ryan - Best Evaluation, Don McSweeney - Best Topic and Vincent Harris - Best Speaker. 

Vincent Harris, Marie Lynes & Michael Cronin.


All roads are now leading to Cork and the Silver Springs Clayton Hotel where the District 71 Spring Conference takes place this weekend. Deirdre Linehan competes in the International Speech Contest on Saturday afternoon and Pat Sexton is representing Speakeasy on Sunday morning. 

The next Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting will take place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday, 17th May at 8.00PM. As always, guests are invited to join us for another night of entertainment. For more information please visit our website, speakeasytoastmasters.com or Facebook. Alternatively, please contact our President, Helsa Giles - 0838858848. 

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Speakeasy talks it's way to the top

The Division B Finals of the International Speech and Evaluation Contests took place in the Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick last Sunday. Eight of the best performers in both categories from across Munster crossed verbal swords in two hugely entertaining competitions.

In the International Speech Contest, Speakeasy was ably represented by Theresa O'Reilly with her "Confessions of an addict". With great conviction and humour, she described her obsession to Social Media and her resolution to kick the habit. Having previously won the Speakeasy Speech Contest, Theresa has honed this presentation to near perfection. She gave a fine performance, narrowly missing out on a placing in the top three.

In third place was Helen Dagnall of West Limerick with her dissertation on "Peace of Mind". She related her childhood memories, growing up on a farm in Banogue, County Limerick. In runner - up position was Jane Sheehan with "The Award". This was a moving tribute to Helene Brunicardi of Killarney Toastmasters who passed away recently. The first prize went to Deirdre Linehan with "Dob's Army". Deirdre who is a member of Speakeasy Club was representing the Fáilte Club in Charleville. This was an exciting performance about the value of team work, discipline and commitment to a common cause as she recalled the All-Ireland Final of the Schools Basketball Competition. Time is running out and everything hinges on the final basket. Dreams are about to come through or hearts are going to break!

This is the third time that Deirdre will participate in the District 71 Final. On previous occasions, she finished Third and Second respectively. We wish her the best of luck in her quest to achieve the top prize against the best speakers in Britain and Ireland. The District Final will take place in the Silver Springs Clayton Hotel, Cork on Saturday, 12th May during the District Conference. 

Pat Sexton, Deirdre Linehan, Ray Ryan & Theresa O' Reilly at the Division B Contest

In the Speech Evaluation Contest, Moira O'Brien of Blarney Toastmasters was the Demonstration Speaker. Her speech - "Check the tide, before you decide",was put under the microscope by eight Contestants. Ray Ryan of Speakeasy gave an impressive and uplifting performance but a top three placing eluded him. In third place was Susan Baughman of Killarney. Emily Sexton of the Raheen Club was placed second. In first place was Pat Sexton of Speakeasy. He will now go forward to the District Final at the Silver Springs Clayton Hotel on Sunday, 13th May. 
Deirdre Linehan, Division B Governor Gerard Mannix & Pat Sexton.
While all eyes will be focused on The District 71 Conference in Cork, club activities continue. The next meeting of Speakeasy Toastmasters will take place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday, 3rd May at 8.00 PM. Another entertaining night of speeches and topics is assured. As always, guests are welcome to attend and will not be obliged to speak unless they wish to do so. 

For more information, please check out our website speakeasytmasters.com or on Facebook. Alternatively, please contact President Helsa Giles - 0838858848.