Sunday, August 12, 2018

Chicago here we come!

Speakeasy Toastmasters Club will watch with bated breath as Deirdre Linehan steps forward to compete in the semi-finals of The World Championships of Public Speaking at The Toastmasters International Convention in Chicago on Thursday,23rd August.

Deirdre's chosen speech "Dob's  Army' recalls​ her time as a young teacher when she successfully​ coached Kildare to victory in the All-Ireland Final of the Schools Basketball competition. This was an exciting speech, reflecting the rollercoaster  nature of a Basketball Final with a nail biting finale. Beginning when Deirdre competed in Club Competitions in the Speakeasy and Failte Clubs, Deirdre has displayed​ sufficient eloquence to win the various qualifying contests, culminating with her spectacular success in the District 71 Final last  May.
Here,she overcame strong opposition from the finest speakers in Ireland and Britain, becoming the second Cork representative to win top prize in the 45 years of participation in this prestigious competition.On a broader scale,the ultimate prize of winning The World Championships has been achieved on one solitary occasion - 1985 when Marie Pyne from Ennis was the winner.

Deirdre will compete against a very strong field in Semi-final 3, taking her place alongside participants from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington,Hong Kong and The Philippines.If she overcomes this challenging field,she will go forward to the World Championships Final on Saturday,25th August.Here,she hopes to perform another speech - "Satin Sandals".This wonderful speech, inspired by the Jenny Joseph poem- "When I grow old, I shall wear purple" is about aging disgracefully and slowing down only for the kids to "catch up".

Deirdre lists drama​ and golf among her many interests.She plays off a very creditable 13 handicap.She was inspired to join Speakeasy Toastmasters after witnessing Matt Lawlee ,a club member deliver a humorous speech about"Male post-natal depression" at a Mallow Golf Club function. As Deirdre recalls : "I was fascinated that you could write and deliver a speech about ordinary, everyday things and make them interesting​ and entertaining.I was really impressed that you could  continue to hone and enhance your speaking skills in such a helpful forum.Toastmasters helped me find a voice for my creativity.Reaching the World Championships in Chicago has been a fantastic achievement​ and great fun. I really want to enjoy this experience".

As part of her preparations for the contest, Deirdre delivered her speeches at "The road to Chicago" rehearsal evening in London.The 3 European​ contenders presented their speeches to much applause and an abundance of helpful feedback from a receptive audience." It was both a challenging and rewarding experience", said Deirdre.

Her preparations are almost complete,her bags are packed and along with her husband,Barry, she is ready to go.All that's left is for Deirdre to arrive in " the windy City" of Chicago and blow them all away with the whirlwind performances​ that she is accustomed to give. Speakeasy Toastmasters wishes Deirdre every success on her wonderful journey.

In other news, Speakeasy Toastmasters commence the New Season on Thursday,6th September in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM.As always,guests and new members are welcome.For more information about Toastmasters, please check out our Club website or on Facebook.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Strength in Adversity

One second is all it takes. A punch thrown in anger by a complete stranger on a night out. And a life is changed irreparably. That was the story of Leonard who will never walk, never see or ever write again. In her quietly uplifting speech, "A man with a New Life", Margaret O'Regan chronicled the changing circumstances of one man's life. He bore no rancour towards his attacker but from the blackest pit he carved out a meaningful new life for himself.

Margaret's was just one of a host of wonderful speeches at last week's Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting that was woven from the rich tapestry of human experience. Tim Casey delivered another. His extraordinary speech - "Footprints in the Snow" - was a Canterbury Tale with a difference. Tim recalled his experiences as a volunteer at a shelter in Canterbury and the people he encountered. In a heart-felt piece of human observation, Tim introduced us to people or "characters" like Fred, Ralph, Ron and Eddie.

Sean Corcoran went back to the beginning with an "Ice Breaker" speech. "Knowledge is power, Information is Liberating" told of Sean's involvement with the Citizen's Information Service, a volunteer run service that offers confidential advice to the public. The role of the Citizen's Information Service is to provide practical information on employment law, statutory entitlements and legal counselling to those who request it.

Claire O'Connell delivered "The Press Conference". Covering the topic of waste recycling, Claire spoke on the subject of Green Bin contamination. She outlined the problem clearly and listed the solutions which were based on awareness and improved communication. In this project, Claire played the role of the Press Secretary impeccably.

"Home is where the heart is" was the theme of Valerie Murphy's speech - "Ballybeg and Me". With a beautifully worded speech, Valerie spoke of growing up in the Townland of Ballybeg, Buttevant at the foot of the Ballyhoura Hills. She spoke of the contrasts between the solitude of The Franciscan Abbey and the Awbeg River with it's beautiful stone Bridge and the Marian Shrine at Buttevant's Grotto where twenty thousand vehicles pass by daily. Childhood memories are recalled and Valerie declares that "Ballybeg is in my psyche". 
Speakers at our final meeting: Sean Corcoran, Valerie Murphy, Claire O' Connell, Tim Casey & Margaret O' Regan.

Marie Lynes played the role of Toastmaster or Chairperson, introducing each speaker and each part of the meeting. Noel O'Connor was the Topicsmaster. He had a range of everyday subjects like "taking the old road", the place of public shows and festivals and the raising of the retirement age. These real life issues elicited a huge response from Club members. 

At the meeting's conclusion, General Evaluator, Michael Donegan presented awards to Deirdre Linehan - Best Topic ; Michael Cronin - Best Evaluation ;Best Speaker - Tim Casey. 

Speakeasy Toastmasters will now take a break from meetings until Thursday 6th September. In the meantime, Club Officer Training will take place and planning for the next Season will continue apace. Meanwhile, it promises to be an extremely busy and exciting time for Deirdre Linehan who will participate in the World Championships of Public Speaking at the Toastmasters International Convention in Chicago on the 22nd August. We extend our best wishes to Deirdre.

For more information on our club, please check out our website speakeasy or on Facebook. Alternatively you can contact President Helsa Giles - 0838858848. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Grand Finale

All good things come to a(temporary) end as Speakeasy Toastmasters wraps up it's meeting schedule on Thursday night. But, as in all things Speakeasy, meetings will finish with a flourish. An exciting and varied programme of speeches is planned.

It will be the final meeting presided over by Helsa Giles. It has been an eventful year for her Presidency - a year of celebrations. Centre stage went to our 25th Anniversary Celebration Night which showcased some of the best speeches delivered by our members over the last quarter of a century.

Pride of place also goes to speech contestants who reached the Irish and British District Finals in three contests, winning two of them.

Within the club, one member, Michael Cronin, achieved Distinguished Toastmaster Award, the highest award for Toastmasters members worldwide. 

The Schools Public Speaking Competition is now established as a major event on the School calendar. Once again, we hosted a very successful competition with the honours of Best Overall Speaker and Best Overall School going to Scoil Mhuire and Scoil Treasa, Kanturk. 

The club has held a wonderful series of meetings since early September in our usual relaxed and entertaining fashion. "I didn't know that!" was a common reaction to some trinket of knowledge or wisdom spoken at our meetings. 

Now is a great time to plan Autumn activities. So, why not pay us a visit and get a feel for what we are about with a view to planning your future nights out . Guests are always welcome at our meetings and are never corralled into speaking unless they wish to do so. We look forward to seeing you on Thursday, 31st May in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM.

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Feel the Fear

Each one of us has experienced it. It's like a knot twisting in your stomach with  that awful sense of dread and  an inability to move. It's called fear - a four letter word that holds us back, if we allow it. 

Theresa O'Reilly addressed the subject head on in her excellent speech - "Feel the fear" which was a highlight of last week's Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting. She gave a hilarious account of her efforts to learn how to swim. She swallowed more water than The Titanic, she was drowning, not waving but she did it! And, just in case, she started doing triathlons! Alongside all that, she joined Speakeasy and overcame her fear of speaking in public! She embodies the famous words of Emerson - "Once you do the thing you fear,the death of fear is certain" '

Vincent Harris entertained us with a fascinating discourse on "Peacocks, Pit bulls and pigs". He explained how the humble "Corgi" dog, so beloved by the British Royal Family, began it's ife as a  dog, whose sole purpose was to keep the oven hot by walking on a wheel. They were known as the Kitchen Dog. 
He spoke also of the Danish Pig, bred to show off his national colours on the Danish /German Border at a time when tensions between the two countries were strained. 

In a hugely enjoyable Topics Session, ably conducted by Bobby Buckley, a wide range of subjects were addressed. Marie Lynes spoke about being on the bandwagon while supporting her club members in recent competitions. Liam Flynn spoke about the Treacys of Carlow who have finished in second place in the World Ploughing Championships on numerous occasions and their willingness to keep trying for the top prize. Memories of all the memorable characters in Mallow in days long gone were exchanged. No discussion on this subject can be complete without a mention of Eddie O'Donovan of the Central Cinema."You're wanted outside and bring your coat". The Royal Wedding was also on the agenda, with Mary Buckley articulating the views of many Irish Royal Wedding watchers. 

Last week saw our AGM,where events of the previous twelve months were recalled. It was a year of excitement. It was a year of celebrations - for our Twenty Fifth Anniversary and our unprecedented success in competions.It was a year of another amazing Schools Public Speaking competition where the top prizes went to the schools of Kanturk. In truth, it was a another brilliant Speakeasy year. 
Pat Sexton, Helsa Giles & Deirdre Linehan

The following officers were elected for the coming year : President - Sean Corcoran;Vice - President Education - Theresa O'Reilly ;Vice President Membership - Michael Cronin;Treasurer - Marie Fitzpatrick ;Secretary - Don McSweeney ;Sergeant at Arms - Helsa Giles; Pathways Mentor - Ray Ryan. 

The next Speakeasy meeting will take place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday, 31st May at 8.00PM.As always, guests are welcome to attend and will not be obliged to speak unless they want to! For more information about Speakeasy, please visit our website speakeasytmasters.comor on Facebook. 

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, 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 or on Facebook. Alternatively, please contact President Helsa Giles - 0838858848. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Competition night

Imagine a room where all smartphones and digital devices are switched off. A room where people engage in real communication, in real time without the distraction of searching for "likes", a room where there is no digital distraction? That is the room where Speakeasy Toastmasters hold their meetings . Last week, we had two hours of undivided attention for the Area 17 Final of the Speech and Evaluation Contests.

A large attendance witnessed the cream of North Cork's most accomplished communicators in action. Theresa O'Reilly of Speakeasy kicked off proceedings with "The Choice". She spoke honestly about her addiction to Social Media, her fear of missing out on every little notification by all her virtual friends and her efforts to go "cold turkey". 

Deirdre Linehan, representing the Fáilte Club in Charleville spoke about her time as coach in "Dob's Army'. The year is 1975 and the Final of the Schools Basketball Final is in full swing. Can the underdogs of Kildare School overcome the overwhelming favourites, Laurel Hill of Limerick. Time is running out and the title is in the balance. 

Bobby Buckley, Speakeasy, presented the eloquent "The call of the litter picker". He described his new vocation as a volunteer, devoting his Saturday mornings to restoring Bray Head to it's intended beauty. Meaning in life can be found by looking outside oneself and devoting time and energy to the community's benefit. 

"Imagination" saw Liam Jones of Fáilte having a relationship with what goes on inside his head. Invoking the words of Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King and Walter Disney, he showed how powerful the imagination can be. 

"Positivity" was the worthy theme of Frank O'Driscoll's contribution. Representing Fermoy Toastmasters, he recalled the film "The Shawshank Redemption" and the famous line "Get busy living or get busy dying". In times of adversity, be it domestic or financial, the willingness to keep going and never, ever give in is the key to a positive outcome. 

Finally, the golden voiced Kevin Walsh of Fermoy gave a lively and entertaining talk on the "Strangers". Recalling his experience of travelling in Britain for the first time in his life, he was pleasantly amazed at the welcome he received, reinforcing the old adage "that a stranger is a friend you haven't met yet". 

In the Speech Evaluation Contest, 5 Contestants, Fanahan Colbert, Frances Lowry, Pat Sexton, Ray Ryan and Michelle O'Brien were challenged to provide meaningful feedback to a test speaker. Philip O'Brien of Bandon Toastmasters delivered a fascinating reflection on "Lessons from the Strawberry Fields". He explained how his life was moulded in a positive way from the planting, picking and pruning of the strawberry crop and the lessons learned continue to guide his life. All contestants provided detailed, honest and sensible feedback to the speaker. 

When the adjudicators ballots were counted, Pat Sexton and Ray Ryan, both Speakeasy emerged First and Second in the Speech Evaluation Contest. In the Speech Contest, Deirdre Linehan was declared Winner, with Theresa O'Reilly in Second place. These contestants will now advance to the Division B (North Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary) Final in the Castletroy Park Hotel in Limerick on Sunday 29th April. We wish them every success. 
Pat Sexton, Ray Ryan, Gerard Mannix & Theresa O' Reilly

In other news, Speakeasy is saddened to learn of the death of former member, Máire Welford. Máire, a well known writer, graced our meetings with her kind wisdom. We extend our condolences to her family and friends. 

For readers who are interested in savouring the atmosphere of our Celebration Night, footage is available on our Facebook page. 

Our next meeting will take place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday, 3rd May at 8.00.PM. Another night of reflection and entertainment in a Smartphone Free Zone is assured. Guests are welcome and will not be coerced to speak unless they wish to do so. 

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A celebration to remember!

"It's like your whole life is flashing before your eyes, but instead of dying, you are laughing".

Or fondly remembering. Or suppressing a quiet tear at being reminded of a personal memory. Those were the reactions of audience members at Speakeasy Toastmasters 25th Anniversary Celebration Night. A packed ballroom of Toastmasters and friends, from Garryvoe to Drogheda and, of course, from North Cork, were entertained and enthralled by a stellar cast of speakers.


Fathers were high on the agenda. Bobby Buckley's "Man on the bike" told the beautiful story of his time as an athlete and of how his proud father lived his life  through his son's achievements. On the other hand, Matt Lawlee presented an hilarious account of his  baby daughter's first feed. Much to the amusement of the audience, "The First  Baby" portrayed Matt as the ultimate "bull in a China - Shop" as he detailed the litany of disasters that befell him.

"Athletics" was also also to the fore in "I haven't gone away, you know!"Michael Walsh recalled the mysterious residents that stayed in his house when he was a boy. They were"on the run " and quite generous with presents like horses. Delivered in a deadpan manner, this was satire of the highest order.

Straight ahead humour was the driver of Michael Cronin's contribution -" The trauma of being dumped ". On this occasion, it wasn't a woman. It was his Broadband provider! "Three" decided that Michael was one too many in their relationship. And so, the hapless Michael has to trudge across his wet fields to find the 4G spot.

Looking back on the past through rose tinted spectacles underpinned speeches by Joan Linehan and Gerry O'Callaghan. The former recalled the morning of the County Stations. Joan remembered with deep fondness the beautiful selection of  food and the "dignitaries" dining in the Parlour. The evocative imagery of "The Teapot" will linger long in the memory. 

"The good old days of the radio", saw Gerry O'Callaghan regale his audience with stories of Frankie Byrne's problem section, DinJoe introducing set dancing on the  radio. But pride of place must go to "Ovaltine". "which seemed to possess aphrodisiac qualities.

" Lions led by donkeys", recalled the tragic squalor of the trenches of World War 1. This powerful presentation detailed the thoughts and fears of an Irish man in a British uniform before his  fatal final journey over the top to become cannon fodder. As we are presently commemorating the significant milestones of the Great War, Kieran Buckley speech was hugely appropriate. 

The subject of aging disgracefully was the theme of "Satin Sandals". Age doesn't mean a diminishing of abilities but as Deirdre Linehan stressed "in slowing down, my children can now catch up with me!" 

Vivien Buckley explained what can happen when you try something different., "The jump" was the scary story of jumping from an aeroplane with a parachute on. The tension was gripping as Vivien was hurtling down towards the ground. Was this a big mistake or would the parachute open? 

Have you ever silently raged about the Single Room Supplement where you pay extra for the privilege of sleeping alone? Well then, Kieran Butler's " The Single Life" was just for you! Kieran fought the good fight for singletons everywhere with his exhortation - "Say it loud! I'm single and I'm proud!" 
Club President Helsa Giles and Club PRO Pat Sexton cutting the Birthday Cake.
Speakeasy Toastmasters has a proud reputation for tutoring it's members in the art of speechcraft. This was exemplified by the extraordinary show put on by all our speakers last Saturday night. We applaud their achievements. We also wish to thank our former members who rose to the challenge of shaking off the cobwebs and returning with such aplomb  to the speaking stage. 
Sean Corcoran, Toastmaster for the celebration night, with Club President Helsa Giles.
In other news, we congratulate former member, Rona Coghlan who achieved a gallant second place in the Division A (Cork) Final of the International Speech Contest in the Clayton Hotel, Cork. With a speech entitled - "Would I lie to you?" represented the Carrigaline Club who were also represented by the winning speaker, Holly Blake. 

Speakeasy now looks forward to the next twenty five years. It begins on Thursday Night, April 19th in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM.This meeting will be devoted to the Area 17 Finals of the International Speech and Evaluation Contests. Clubs from North Cork will participate, including Bobby Buckley, Theresa O'Reilly, Ray Ryan and Pat Sexton of Speakeasy. As always, guests are very welcome to attend what promises to be a lively night's entertainment. We look forward to seeing you. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Celebration night

Celebration Night!

Delayed by Storm Emma, which is now a distant memory,the Speakeasy Toastmasters 25th Anniversary Celebration Night takes place on Saturday Night in the Hibernian Hotel at 8.00PM.There will be gales on the night, this time gales of laughter.

It promises to a festival of nostalgia and entertainment,with the cream of Speakeasy delivering some of the most memorable speeches delivered at our meetings over the last quarter of a century.Among the featured speakers is Kieran Buckley. Kieran  is a Past President,renowned for his fine speeches.His chosen speech on Saturday Night is "Lions led by Donkeys", a moving reflection on World War 1, delivered  from a soldier's point of view.

Over the past few years,Speakeasy has been a witness to many extraordinary presentations from Bobby Buckley.A native of Mallow, Bobby is a dual member of both Speakeasy and the Rathfarnham Club in Dublin. Bobby will regale us on Saturday Night with his recollections of times past in Mallow. Also on the menu is Gerry O'Callaghan. Gerry can always be relied on to colour his verbal outpourings with a large dollop of humour ,not exclusively self-directed! Like many of the speakers on the night, Gerry was a contestant at the highest level in Toastmasters,fondly remembered for his touching eulogy to his dearly departed pet rat,"Toby".

All in all,our Celebration Night will have a broad range of speeches that will entertain us, inspire us and give the opportunity to reflect on some of life's big questions.So,why not drop in and us on our special night.Refreshments will be served on the night and fun is guaranteed.

At our last meeting, we were treated to a fascinating selection of subjects during the speech programme. Under the astute and personable guidance of the Toastmaster of the evening, Bridie O'Connell, four speakers gave very strong and factual presentations. Marie Fitzpatrick posed the challenge-" Reason the need".Turning the words of Shakespeare's "King Lear" around, Marie spoke of our crazy,modern life-style where we rack up huge levels of debt because "we are worth it!"We live in a world of hidden persuaders who sell us the illusion of happiness, be it the AIB with their "children's playhouse " advertising or large retail outlets and their Loyalty Cards. The result of all this consumerism is an appalling household inbebitness. Marie had the perfect solution for impulse buying with Credit Card- a wire cutters to slice up the "Cards of temptation ".

Maria Connolly delivered a fascinating talk on "Existentialism", the philosophy that emerged in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries on how we exist in the world and the freedom to choose our destiny. She detailed the various proponents of existentialism,Jean Paul Satre, Friedrich Nietzsche and the hugely influential" Man's search for meaning " by Victor Frankl. A survivor of the Nazi Concentration Camps, Frankl asserted that,regardless of one's circumstances,we maintain the choice to choose our attitude to any situation we find ourselves in.

Kevin O'Neill of Fermoy Toastmasters recalled the "Tin Lizzie", the most influential motor car of all time, the Model T. He outlined the huge significance of Henry Ford's achievements - the introduction of assembly line production, the personal freedom that the automobile provided and improvements in workers pay and conditions.It's only drawback was the cumbersome and dangerous method of starting the vehicle- by a crank handle. "Any colour you like,as long as it's black", was the motto of Henry Ford.Yet, the original Model T came in greys and green!

Finally, Bobby Buckley gave a motivational talk on Leadership Excellence.He spoke about the new Toastmasters Programme -"Pathways". He encouraged all members to embrace this programme which reinforces the communication leadership ethos of the organisation and to take the plunge by adapting  the online technology which plays a role in the Toastmasters Programme.
As always,all speakers received full and frank evaluations of their speeches,evaluations provided in a comprehensive manner by Claire O'Connell, Don McSweeney,Pat Sexton and Ray Ryan.

The Topicsmaster of the meeting, Liam Flynn,acted as discussion leader on an eclectic mix of impromptu talks. Ann Buckley addressed the issue of the romanticising of the past when the Summers were always warmer and the grasss was greener. Marie Lynes spoke eloquently on those magic moments that turn her on : the moments shared,the musical moments enjoyed.Deirdre Linehan and Gerry O'Callaghan  and Don McSweeney revealed their oldest family mementos.Tony O'Regan  spoke about the perfect gift for American tourists.It wasn't what anyone expected!

At the meeting's conclusion,the General Evaluator, Theresa O'Reilly, presented awards for the Best performances: Marie Lynes - Best Topic; Best Evaluator - Ray Ryan ; Best Speaker - Kevin O'Neill.Awards are presented to the outstanding performers at each meeting but,it should be noted that all contributors are winners.

Forthcoming events at Speakeasy include the Area  17 Finals (North Cork)of the Speech and Evaluation Contests on the 19th April in the Hibernian Hotel.Meanwhile, all roads lead to Saturday Night and Speakeasy Toastmasters 25th Anniversary Celebration Night .We look forward to seeing you.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

At the beginning

"After all, I really love you,
After all that we've been through."

It was Spring 1993 and while a young man's fancy may have been turning to love, in The Hibernian Hotel, Mallow many people's fancy were turning to the realisation that a new Toastmasters Club had been formed. Demonstration meetings had started the previous October and now there were sufficient members recruited from all over the North Cork area to establish a viable club. A name was chosen to reflect the attitude of the club and a committee formed. Meetings had a "real buzz" about them.

At precisely the same time, a different "buzz" was happening in Cork City. A young three piece rock band called "The Frank and Walters" were blazing a trail up the English Music Charts with a song called "After All". This was at a time when these Charts mattered. They were called to appear on" Top of the Pops". On that week in March, their song rose to the lucky heights of Number 13,ahead of Paul McCartney who also appeared on the show. After their initial success, "The Frank's", settled down to become a much loved and highly respected Cork institution and never became Tax-Exiles or sang about World hunger.

And now, twenty five years later, "The Frank's" are an enjoying a return to the limelight. Their signature song is back up to the top of the charts as a result of it's manic rendition by the madcap Billy Murphy in the series finale of "The Young Offenders".Their new found fame shows that while fashion is fleeting, class is eternal. 

Twenty five years later, Speakeasy Toastmasters continues to flourish. The founding Committee elected in March 1993 consisted of President: Joe O'Connor, Boherbue ;Vice President Education : Loretta Barry, Mallow ; Vice President Membership : Ger Cott, Charleville ; PRO : Deirdre Horgan, Mallow ;Secretary : Ann Coughlan, Buttevant ;Treasurer : John Stack, Mallow ; Sergeant at Arms : Nellie O'Keeffe, Doneraile and Dónal O'Cainte, Liscarroll.

This Committee and others that followed have guided the Club to achieve high standards of meetings and educational accomplishments  over a quarter of a century. Hundreds of members have benefited from their involvement over the years. Members have begun speaking before a Toastmasters audience and have their confidence and communication skills transformed. 

Our Twenty Fifth Anniversary Celebration Night will commemorate our speaking success with a fine range of speakers, past and present.It promises to be a night of entertainment, enlightenment and inspiration. The dress code is informal, with refreshments provided on the night. We invite the public to join us for this unique occasion. It takes place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Saturday 14th April at 8.00PM. 

In the meantime, the next Club Meeting takes place on Thursday, 5th April at 8.00PM Sharp. As always, a fine lineup of speakers will be on show and a fine night of entertainment is guaranteed. Guests are more than welcome to attend and experience for themselves what Speakeasy has to offer. You will not be coerced into speaking unless you wish to do so. 

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

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Vivien talks up for Toastmasters.

Local artist, Vivien Buckley will be among the speakers at Speakeasy Toastmasters 25th Anniversary Celebration Night which takes place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Saturday, 14th April.
Vivien Buckley

Among her many talents, Vivien was an accomplished member of Speakeasy Toastmasters Club in Mallow. Vivien was renowned for her quick wit and her dramatic timing in her many speeches in the Club. For the Speakeasy Celebration Night, Vivien plans to revisit her experiences at parachute jumping which detailed the madness required to jump out of an aeroplane in mid flight. 

Speakeasy Toastmasters was founded in 1993.Though based in Mallow, it draws it's members from all over the North Cork area - from Sliabh Luachra in the West to Castletownroche in the East. Many members, both past and present, hail from the Duhallow area. These include the late John Dillon, Kanturk, former President, Joe O'Connor, Boherbue and Jason Fitzgerald, Kiskeam. 

Also speaking at the Celebration Night is Kieran Butler of Cecilstown. Kieran is a past pupil of Scoil Mhuire, Kanturk who initially participated in a Toastmasters Public Speaking class in Transition Year. Kieran will present his ode on the single life. The Secondary Schools in Kanturk participate in the Speakeasy Toastmasters Annual Schools Public Speaking Competition. Scoil Treasa were adjudged the Winning School and Dara Healy - Fitzgerald of Scoil Mhuire as Best Speaker at last November's competition. 

Speakeasy Toastmasters 25th Anniversary Celebration Night promises to be a wonderful occasion with a selection of some of the "most memorable" speeches presented at Club meetings over that time - speeches that entertained, inspired and evoked emotion. Guests are welcome to attend. The dress code is informal and refreshments will be provided on the night. 

Speakeasy Toastmasters extend an invitation to the greater public to our 25th Anniversary Celebration Night in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Saturday, 14th April at 8.00PM.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

April Showers of Celebration!

Preparations are at an advanced stage,speeches are being polished and the welcome mat is being laid out for Speakeasy Toastmasters 25th Anniversary Celebration Night on Saturday 14th April in the Hibernian Hotel,Mallow at 8.00PM.

To commemorate this important milestone,members past and present (and hopefully,future)will gather together to be entertained by a stellar cast of speakers.It will be a night where we wear the rose tinted spectacles as we travel down memory lane.An outstanding lineup of memorable speeches is promised.Renowned speakers like Matt Lawlee,Michael Cronin, Gerry O'Callaghan will regale us with Humorous Speeches from their outstanding archives.They will be joined by three members of the extended Buckley Clan, Vivienne ,Bobby and Kieran with further memorable contributions.The programme will be rounded out by Joan Linehan,Deirdre Linehan, Kieran Butler and Michael Walsh.

It promises to be a night of reflection, motivation and laughter, a night when members will bask in the achievements of the club and a night when guests can see Speakeasy Toastmasters at it's finest. We extend an invitation to the everyone to join us on this special night.The dress code is casual and refreshments will be served.

Meanwhile, Speakeasy Toastmasters' Meeting Season continues relentlessly.At our recent meeting we were treated to four fine speeches encompassing humour,fashion,history and poetry.Claire O'Connell presented a wonderful slice of absurdist humour entitled- "Do you live in the Douglas area?" The advantage of waking at 8.30 AM and being at work at 8.45 proves irresistible to Claire.But, she must find a man with similar passions tor Douglas and marry, not for love, but for a shared mortgage.And it seems that doing the "downward facing dog "at Yoga in the local gym is a good way to attract a man.Alternatively, she can try the "pen pals " page in "Ireland's Own".We wish  Claire every success in her dual quest for man and house in the Douglas area!

Helsa Giles did a relaxed talk on fashion and confidence - "Hints and tips". Don't follow fashion, create your own was her core message.She described how W.B. Yeats' muse,Maud Gonne could bring a presence to any room with her sense of style.She detailed a number of practical ideas which found favour with both genders at the meeting.

Liam Flynn dealt with the tragic fallout of Civil War in "Brother against brother".He described the broken lives it leaves in it's wake, the refugees it creates and the long term bitterness it causes.He dealt movingly with our own Civil War which divided Irish families and communities.To conclude,he wished for a commemorative "Day of reconciliation" to close the chapter on Ireland's tragedy.

Mary Moynihan presented a "Monodrama".Her brief was to present an Interpretive Reading of a writing that is filled with an inner drama and self - questioning.Her chosen piece was "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufreck" by T.S. Elliot.This well known and hugely influential poem was delivered with style and aplomb by Mary who captured the inner conflict of the piece.
Mary Moynihan & Evaluator Pat Sexton
Each speech was evaluated comprehensively and sensitively by the assigned evaluators, Kieran Butler, Theresa O'Reilly,John Brennan and Pat Sexton.The evaluation section of our meetings plays a significant role in assisting members as they strive to develop and improve their speaking skills.

Topicsmaster of the meeting was Sean Corcoran. He encouraged participants to engage in a game of bluff and,as a result,this session ended up having more hot air than a Dáil Éireann Seanad Debate and more "bull" than you'd find at Kanturk Mart! Kieran Butler eloquently sold the prototype of a device to hijack elections.On the subject of aliens,Bridie O'Connell asserted that "it's calmness out there in space, the aliens are us". Gerry O'Callaghan was given the onerous challenge of spending a thousand Euros while Ray Ryan fantasied about traveling into space with Elon Musk. Don McSweeney confessed that when he reaches the ripe old age of eighty he will wonder " how will I spend the second half of my life?"
Mohammed Omar, Mary Moynihan & Pat Sexton.
At the meeting's conclusion, awards were presented to Liam Flynn - Best Speaker; Pat Sexton - Best Evaluator; Kieran Butler - Best Topic.The motto that is mentioned often in Speakeasy is "We learn most in moments of enjoyment". By that yardstick, our last meeting was a richly rewarding experience.

To experience "The Speakeasy Experience" for yourself, why not drop in to our next meeting which takes place in the Hibernian Hotel,Mallow on Thursday,5th April at 8.00PM. Guests are always welcome and will not be obliged to speak unless they wish to do so!

For further information about our Club, please check out our website or on Facebook.Alternatively,contact Helsa Giles -083-8858848.