Delivering her maiden speech in Speakeasy, Rachel Liston gave a fascinating account of growing up in West Limerick. To a packed room of members and guests she recalled her fascination with the colours of everything - how the sky was blue and the grass was green and wondering why. This curiousity drove her interest in the Sciences and ultimately to a career in biochemistry.
Anne O'Donovan delivered a "re-introductory" speech. Delivering a talk of a personal nature, Anne spoke about her six years of involvement in Speakeasy and of how the new Pathways Programme offers her a fresh challenge.
Maria Connolly transported her audience back to warmer days. With a speech entitled - "Ireland's Gem", Maria painted a beautiful pen picture of West Cork and the Wild Atlantic Way. She showed by her well chosen examples - from Mizen Head to the Old Head of Kinsale, from Dursey Island to Sherkin Island - that West Cork is a place apart.
With his "After-dinner Speech", Brendan Foley became the grinch that stole Christmas or made it miserable for some."Minority rules" described how Brendan found himself preparing Christmas dinner for twelve people and then discovering that two were vegetarians! In a parallel universe, Brendan would have bent over backwards to accommodate their dietary requirements. In reality, they had to make-do with potatoes and vegetables! Outside of cooking and eating, Christmas Day can be boring, so he tries innovative ways to pass the time like winding up passive aggressive guests until they "lose it"!
|Anne O'Donovan, Rachel Liston, Brendan Foley & Maria Connolly|
Christmas cheer was in evidence everywhere else throughout the meeting. Kieran Butler, Toastmaster of the Evening, dressed the part with his Vercase designed festive jumper. The Topicsmaster, Liam Flynn, conducted a themed Topics Session on the Season.
In a year when #metoo dominared the headlines, he posed the question -"Is it time for a Mother Christmas?" He challenged his audience with the prospect of a Christmas dinner without turkey, ham or pudding. Other subjects covered included real or artificial trees, Billy Smart's Circus and the things we dread about Christmas. Gerry O'Callaghan responded to the question of favourite Seasonal songs by singing a verse of " Jingle Bells".
At the meeting's conclusion, Claire O'Connell in her role as General Evaluator presented awards to Michael Donegan - Best Evaluator, Bridie O'Connell - Best Topic and Rachel Liston - Best Speaker.
This was the final meeting of 2018. From Storm Emma to Storm Deirdre, it has been quite an eventful twelve months for Speakeasy Toastmasters. The Club celebrated it's Twenty-Fifth Anniversary in fine style. Initially stymied by snow storms, the celebratory night was a rip roaring success with ten of the best speakers presenting their memorable speeches. It was the year when several club members performed successfully at various Contests. In May,at the District Conference in Cork, Deirdre Linehan emerged victorious in the District 71 (Britain and Ireland) Final of the International Speech Contest with her exciting speech - "Dob's Army". Subsequently, she went on to participate in the World Championship Public Speaking Finals in Chicago. In the DistrictFinal of the Speech Evaluation Contest, Pat Sexton won the top prize.In the recent Division B (Munster)Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests Speakeasy were represented by Kieran Butler, Claire O'Connell, Pat Sexton and Ray Ryan. Pat Sexton emerged as Winner of the Table Topics Contest and will go forward to the District 71 Final in Norwich next May.
But, above all else, it has been a year of educational, entertaining and exhilarating meetings that embody the Speakeasy motto - We learn most in moments of enjoyment. Our First meeting of the 2019 takes place in the Hibernian Hotel Mallow on Thursday,10th January at 8.00PM. We look forward to seeing you then. In the meantime, Speakeasy Toastmasters wishes it's members, guests and readers of this column a Happy and Peaceful Christmas.