Monday, November 20, 2017

Distinguished Toastmaster

The Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting last week was a special occasion that marked the wonderful achievements of one of our most illustrious members, Michael Cronin. To mark the occasion, fellow Club Member, Tony O'Regan performed a 'Roast'. The Frank Murphy of Speakeasy!', was how Tony described the continuous involvement of Michael Cronin on Club committees for year on year. With gentle humour, Tony paid tribute to Michael on twenty - one years of membership of the Club and on his many accomplishments during this time. As a result of his long term participation in the Toastmasters Programme - over 40 speeches and several leadership roles, Michael has recently  achieved the 'Distinguished Toastmaster' Award which is the highest recognition achievable in Toastmasters. 
Michael Cronin is presented with His Distinguished Toastmaster Award by Noel O'Connor (left). Noel introduced Michael to Toastmasters and acted as a mentor. 

From a shy and humble beginning, Michael has blossomed to becoming a well-known and popular member, known throughout Ireland and Britain for his Humorous speeches. During the day, Michael is a dairy farmer in Ballybrack, Doneraile. By night, he is an all-round entertainer. His winning speech in the 2008 District Final is remembered with particular fondness. As Tony reminded his audience, he also served as Club President, not once but twice and finally getting it right on the second occasion. To the applause of a packed audience, Tony presented Michael with a wall plaque to acknowledge this spectacular achievement. 

Once again, Speakeasy produced a meeting to remember. Other speaking highlights came from Claire O'Connell who simulated a Television Broadcast. Entitled 'Double Standards', Claire addressed the recently announced French ban on the use of underweight models.Using a soapbox style, Claire mused that in the interests of consistency, perhaps the ban should be extended to overweight models. She spoke about the the complex nature of Body Mass Index.

Michael Donegan presented an Icebreaker speech entitled 'Second Time Around'. In fact, this was Michael's second Icebreaker, he delivered the first 24 years ago, in the Club's first year. He reminisced on the changes that have happened in his life in the meantime. These changes were most obvious in the lives of his children who have moved from little steps to giant strides in adult life. He spoke about retirement and the need for new interests. He has joined the cheapest gym of all - walking the roads around Mallow.

Mary Moynihan did an interpretive reading from Frank O'Connor's classic story 'A first Confession'. She brought to life the humour of the piece - the narrator's ongoing skirmishes with his grandmother and sister, the fear of being sent to the Bishop and the rather confusing architecture of the confessional. It is a story with a twist, suggesting that God may be benign after all!

We were privileged to have a special guest speaker to round out our speech programme. Meena Verma of Raheen Toastmasters in Limerick delivered her wonderfully entertaining speech - 'There are plenty of fish in the sea-really?' Meena recently competed in The District 71 Humorous Speech Contest Final in Sheffield.Amid much laughter, she recalled how as an Indian girl, she had only experienced cowboys on Internet dating sites. It seems that most men seem to lie about their age, their marital status, their height and their interests. And jealousy sets takes over! Hilariously, she recalls the woman who has met her third husband, 'having cremated her first two husbands'. As Meena put it- 'I am looking for one husband and she has husbands to burn!!' 
Meena Verma with Margaret O'Regan.
  The Toastmaster of the Evening was the ever genial Bobby Buckley. A native of Mallow, Bobby found fame,  fortune and family bliss in Dublin. He is a former President of Rathfarnham Toastmasters and colourfully describes Rathfarnham as his wife and Speakeasy as his mistress. 

Don McSweeney from Kanturk acted as discussion leader for the Topics Session. On the subject of winter, Gerry O"Callaghan made loneliness seem humorous. Anne O'Donovan and Brendan Foley presented alternative views on the sending of Christmas cards. On the subject of futuristic driving, we had the quote of the evening - 'With driverless cars, how will the Gardai fake breathyliser tests?'

During the Evaluation section of the meeting, the assigned evaluators of the speeches, Brendan Foley, Pat Sexton, Noel O'Connor, Theresa O'Reilly and Margaret O'Regan gave detailed and constructive feedback to all the speakers. Awards were presented to Tony O'Regan - Best Speaker; Margaret O'Regan - Best Evaluation ; Bridie O'Connell - Best Topic.  However, it is worth emphasising that all participants at a meeting are winners. 

Speakeasy Toastmasters were saddened to hear of the sad passing of Adrian Melia. Adrian was a hugely popular and charismatic member of Kildare Toastmasters. He travelled the length and breadth of Leinster and Munster, participating at Club meetings. He was also well known as a sports photographer for The Leinster Leader newspaper. We convey our condolences to his partner and his family. He will be much missed but fondly remembered by his many friends in Toastmasters and in Kildare G.A.A.

Speakeasy Toastmasters next meeting will be The Schools Public Speaking Competition. The cream of Transition Year Students in North Cork will battle it out for the Top Prizes. It promises to be another fascinating night. As always, guests are welcome. It takes place in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday 30th November at 8.00PM. 

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

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