'Even though I'm being put down, the price is going up'. That was how Gerry O"Callaghan described the rising costs of funerals at last weeks Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting.
Despite the aftermath of Storm Ophelia and the impending Storm Brian, a large crowd braved the elements for another enjoyable night of entertainment and enlightenment.
Proceedings kicked off with Sean Corcoran and his educational talk - "How to answer topics". He quoted Churchill - "I am just preparing my impromptu remarks". Listen, be brief and conclude was the essence of Sean's advice. His practical and honest advice helped remove the terror from topics.
Marie Fitzpatrick gave an interpretative reading from the Charlotte Bronte's classic novel 'Jane Eyre'. The purpose of interpretation is to give life to the words on the printed page.'Jane Eyre' is a story of unrequited love and passion and Marie expertly captured it's emotional drama. This reading also illustrated how our use and understanding of the English language has declined over the years.
Jason Fitzgerald gave a wonderful speech entitled - "The Dash". While attending a commemoration ceremony for Thomas Ashe, Jason became fascinated by all the headstones, especially the line between the year of birth and the year of death - The Dash. What kind of lives did these people live? Did they make the most of the opportunities that life presented? More pertinently, do we make the most of the myriad of opportunities that our modern life presents us? This was a thoughtful rumination on the value of education to enhance our potential to make a difference.
Finally, Pat Sexton delivered the TODD Box. This is a fictional box where we can place all our Smartphones, Ipads, Laptops and remotes to get a Timeout from Digital Devices.
Being connected constantly is having a corrosive impact on our lives, intruding on our peace of mind and our interpersonal communications. A digital detox is no longer a luxury but an essential element of retaining our sanity.
All speeches were rigorously and sensitively evaluated by Brendan Foley, Mary Moynihan, Michael Cronin and Claire O'Connell. The purpose of evaluations is to give the speakers affirmation for their efforts and pointers on how to improve future presentations. The mantra is - The more you speak, the more you improve!
Topicsmaster Marie Lynes was the genial but persuasive discussion leader on a broad range of issues. "How do you react when someone tells you that you are making a scene?" was the attention grabbing question. Money as the root of all evil had Gerry O"Callaghan bemoaning the cost of funerals and the notion of perfect happiness brought out the best in new member Larry Dowling. The Topics Session helps members to become comfortable with impromptu speaking - the art of speaking without a script - so valuable a skill in our daily lives.
The General Evaluator, Anne O'Donovan, gave a positive assessment of the meeting and presented awards to Ray Ryan for his knowledge on Bismarck and Best Topic, to Claire O'Connell for Best Evaluation and Jason Fitzgerald for Best Speaker.
Recently, the European Soapbox Competition took place in Mallow Library. For the past five years, Mallow Library has been a Europe Direct centre and has hosted the Soapbox Competition. All the previous winners in the Adult section and have been Speakeasy members. This year is no exception as Jason Fitzgerald joins Brendan Foley, Pat Sexton and Bobby Buckley in the winners Hall of Fame. Jason spoke eloquently on the theme - "Brexit - Ireland's opportunity.
Jason will now go forward to represent the Southern Region in the National Final in the Royal Kilmainham Hospital in Dublin in November. He will be joined by Marie Kelleher of Davis College, Mallow who emerged victorious in the under 19 category. We wish both Jason and Marie the best of fortune.
Members of Speakeasy recently participated in the North Cork Area Final in Fermoy. Pat Sexton was overall winner of The Table Topics Contest with his response to the topic - What is your idea of perfect happiness? Pat went forward to the Division B (North Munster) Final in Limerick and also won that contest. Pat will represent the Division at the District Final in Sheffield, November 3rd.
The next Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting will have take place in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday November 2nd at 8.00 Pm.
Regardless of the rain and storm, a warm front of welcome will be extended to all guests. Perhaps, you wish to learn a new skill and haven't got around to it yet, perhaps you are curious to see what we are all about or maybe you just want a good night out, then November 2nd is the date for your diary.
For more information visit www.speakeasytoastmasters.com.
Alternatively, contact Helsa Giles 083 8858848.