"Toastmasters made the difference", according to Don McSweeney in his speech at last week's Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting. Entitled "Rewind", Don recalled many of the events that have shaped his life. He recalled the nervous anxiety he felt when he delivered his Icebreaker Speech in Speakeasy in 2015 and how he no longer feels that way when standing in front of an audience. "Toastmasters has been a positive experience for me".Other positive experiences include his prowess at karate and organic gardening. His continued fandom of both Manchester United and Bob Dylan have been somewhat of a "mixed blessing lately, given the indifferent nature of their performances"
In other speeches, the audience were regaled with fascinating stories and wild opinions. Michael Cronin delved into Nineteenth Century American History with the spell binding tale of the musician and band leader, Patrick Gilmore. "Almost Forgotten" chronicled the the eventful life and times of one of Ireland's unheralded sons. Born in County Galway in1829, Patrick had a fascination for musical instruments. Starting off with the Fife and Drum, before discovering Brass instruments and the Coronet, Michael departed from Ireland for greener American pastures in the 1840s. Here he made his mark in Brass Bands and Orchestras before joining the Union Army during the Civil War, alongside his brothers and Band. Witnessing the horrors of war inspired him to write the legendary anti - war anthem -"When Johnny comes Marching Home". After the war, he devoted his energies to musical extravaganzas on the theme of Peace and Reconciliation. With musicians in their thousands and choirs of tens of thousands, Patrick conducted huge events with extraordinary accompaniment from drums and Artillery Cannons.These events attracted thousands of people. Up until his untimely death in 1892, he continued to tour America by train and bring music to the people. Patrick Gilmore remains the most renowned musical figure in Nineteenth Century America. However, the absence of sound recordings and visual footage have meant that he is "almost forgotten".
Legendary figures from the Patrician Academy in Mallow were central characters in Bobby Buckley's highly entertaining speech - "The Fun and The Terror". With a certain amount of fondness, Bobby recalled "Gally and Sally", two Patrician Brothers than had quite an influence on their students! One was the source of great amusement, a strange creature with a humungous head and very peculiar mannerisms. The other was a volatile genius and a figure of terror. There were instances of pupils with no homework finished who would chew on Carbolic soap to induce sickness and try to avoid the frightening prospect of a Brother in full fury. And yet, it turned out that the influence was a positive one as Bobby became a teacher of some repute!
In the final speech of the evening, Vincent Harris offered a contrarian and uplifting view of our world. "Are we going in the Right Direction?" He focused on the Global Media where "good news is no news" and argued strongly that while bad things may happen, things are getting better. Technology is leading to greater efficiency in how the Earth's resources are being used. He cited the example of how America's 9 million Dairy Cows are now producing more milk than the 23 Million in the 1970's. Moreover, he asserted that Global Inequality is shrinking and poverty is reducing while child mortality and famine is diminishing. We live in a smarter and more efficient world. At the dawn of a new decade, Vincent brought a note of optimism to our meeting.
At the Meeting's conclusion, all speeches were evaluated in a positive and constructive fashion by the assigned evaluation team of Rachel Liston, Margaret O'Regan, Pat Sexton and Marie Lynes. Commend, recommend and commend was the approach adopted by all evaluators. Awards were presented to Bobby Buckley for Best Speech and to Rachel Liston for Best Evaluation.
Positivity and optimism are two qualities in great abundance at Speakeasy Meetings. The feelings of empowerment and satisfaction that one experiences when speaking in front of an audience helps to to make the Toastmasters experience a positive one.Learning a new skill is also a positive experience. Any time is a good time to visit a Speakeasy meeting. Any time is a good time to join. Unlike various educational courses which have specified Commencing and End dates, Toastmasters is open ended.
With that in mind, why not pay us a visit. New members are always welcome. Guests are always welcome to attend and are never obliged to speak unless they wish to do so.
Our next meeting takes place in the Hibernian Hotel Mallow on Thursday 23rd January at 8.00PM. We look forward to seeing you there.
For more information about our Club please check out our website speakeasytoastmasters.com or on Facebook.