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 Toastmasters.com or on Facebook. Alternatively you can contact President Helsa Giles - 0838858848.