Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A meeting to savour.

Speakeasy Toastmasters are hosting their Annual Theme Night - "Literary Speaking" - on this Thursday, 2nd May in the Hibernian Hotel Mallow at 7.45 PM for an 8.00PM start. 

The midnight oil has been burned and the speakers are ready. The programme will feature interpretative readings from experienced performers like Michael Cronin, Bridie O'Connell, Loretto Barry, Sean Corcoran, Deirdre Linehan and Bobby Buckley. Each speaker will bring life and meaning to the works of popular Irish writers. Former members Máire Welford and John Dillon will be fondly remembered as Noel O'Connor and Anne Buckley will interpret their writings. It promises to be a night to savour. 

Equally savoury was the fare on display at the last meeting. Taking place on Spy Wednesday, it featured an extraordinary range of speeches that covered topics like doomed love, debauchery, donkey derbies and sleep deprivation. 

Rachel Liston described her curiousity about the blue and white pattern on her aunt's cutlery. She evoked an era when The Willow Pattern was proudly on display in Irish dining rooms but rarely used. "The Willow Legend" told the Chinse tale of the "star-crossed lovers" whose romance was sadly doomed. 

Marriage featured prominently in Michael Cronin's "A life fully lived". Michael introduced his audience to the eventful and outrageous life of Elizabeth Rosanna Gilbert. Born in Sligo in 1821,Lisa lived a life, that by modern day standards wouldseem unconventional, but by the standards of her time, were truly extraordinary and debauched. Blazing a trail across four continents, Lisa was a master (or was it mistress? ) of seduction and scandalous affairs with writers, composers and, most infamously,Ludwig 1 of Bavaria. She was well honed in the art of reinvention and rebranded herself as "Lola Montez" whose erotic and revealing "Spider Dance" led to outrage. In short, she lived a life that would make Madonna seem like a nun in an enclosed order. 

Liam Flynn challenged us with his presentation - "Don't be apathetic about apnia". Sleep apnia is a problem that impacts on a sizeable number of Irish people. Simply put, those impacted by it stop breathing while asleep. This causes the heartto produce adrenaline, causing the sleeper to wake up. This can happen several times during the night and leaves the sufferer without proper sleep and unable to function normally. Thankfully, once diagnosed, the condition is treatable with an air pump and face mask which is a small price to pay for curing a serious disorder. 
Liam Flynn, Rachel Liston, Jane Sheehan & Michael Cronin 

Jane Sheehan of Killarney Toastmasters delivered a powerful speech on our unwillingness to listen. "Headphones" addressed our inability to listen with empathy and without prejudice and how non listeners will derail an interaction to impose their own point of view. Jane recalled her childhood joy at winning a donkey derby and how her joy was multiplied in telling her family. She quoted the words of Maya Angeliou - 'People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did. But people will always remember how you made them feel ". Jane will represent Division B (North Munster) in Irish and Britain Finals I Norwich in May. The Club wishes her the best of good fortune. 
Sean Corcoran, Jane Sheehan & Pat Sexton. 

The Topic Session, ably conducted by Deirdre Linehan, covered a broad range of subjects from the Easter Bunny to bravery, Tiger Woods to umbrellas and from retirement to the joy of making music. Best qoute of the night was "Having spent your life avoiding temptation, you begin to find temptation starts avoiding you". The Best Topic was awarded to Sean Corcoran, with Best Speaker going to Jane Sheehan and Marie Lynes winning Best Evaluation. 

Speakeasy Toastmasters look forward to seeing you at our Theme Night "Literary Speaking" in the Hibernian Hotel Mallow at 7.45 PM on this Thursday night 
For more information about the club, please check out the website speakeasy toastmasters.com or on Facebook. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

"Literary Speaking"

Among our many wonderful traits as as a people, the Irish are renowned for their story telling. Little wonder then that we continue to punch above our weight at various literary awards like the Booker Prize, the Whitbread Prize and the Impac Award.A love of literature is part of what we are. 

With this in mind, Speakeasy Toastmasters Club are delighted to announce that their next meeting will be their "Theme Night". This year, the theme is books or to be more precise, the stories that lie within. "Literary Speaking" will be a night where the magic of the written word will be brought to life through the interpretive readings by various members. Well known Irish writers will have their words lifted from the pages of books and given vibrancy and meaning. 

Michael Cronin will tackle the musings of the ever humorous Joseph O'Connor while the ever popular Maeve Binchy will be interpreted by Bridie O'Connell. Bobby Buckley will present a dramatic reading of"Beuwolf" which will delight "children of all ages" . Also scheduled is Sean Corcoran's rendition of "The Letter", which covers the trials and tribulations of finding romance or even companionship in the pre-Tinder era and is based on the writings of John B Keane.

 Former member, the late John Dillon of Kanturk will be remembered by Anne Buckley's interpretation of "The Murhur Reel", a short story he published in 2015.

The Club is delighted to welcome back a former member, Loretto Barry who will take us back to our secondary school days with her masterful rendition of the Frank O'Connor classic "The First Confession". 

In all, it promises to be a wonderful night for lovers of books and for anyone seeking a good night's entertainment. We look forward to witnessing the words "jumping off the page". It will be a night that won't just provide food for thought,it promises to be a "gourmet menu" of Michelan Star quality 
The Club extends an invite to the community to come along to this exciting event. It take place in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Thursday 2nd May at 8.00PM sharp. 
For more information on this event or on Speakeasy Toastmasters, please check out our websitespeakeasytoastmasters.com or on Facebook. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Does fear hold you back?

During the Table Topics Session at last week's Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting, Topicsmaster Maria Connolly posed a fascinating question - "How does fear hold you back"? Over a number of responses, it seems that other people's opinions of us creates the greatest fear. Perhaps, we crave other people's approval for the choices we make, even down to the clothes we wear. Fear of confined spaces figured prominently as did a fear of excess. "To hell with moderation and this life balance," one speakerproclaimed. "Burn your candle at both ends and apply a blowtorch to the middle. Moderation is the last refuge of the unimaginative".

Claire O'Connell and Valerie Murphy dealt with the topic of "reducing stress". Valerie suggests that we walk, talk and sing while Finnish Metal Music does the trick for Claire! To each their own form of musical therapy, be it Monty Phyton's "Bright side of life" or the narcissist's anthem "It's hard to be humble" or even Finnish Metal Music.

"Your favourite piece of technology" elicited responses from the functional to the esoteric. The milking machine and other wonderful labour saving devices that have transformed agriculture was a popular choice. Yet the humble "wireless" or the radio evoked memories of a time when the spoken word was transmitted without vision. The unexpected joy of rediscovering a favourite song which is played unannounced was described as one of radio's finest gifts. Our over-dependence on technology was vividly brought to life by a member's recollection of losing his car key while strolling on a beach. Yes, technology can enslave us as well as enabling us.

But, the "hot potato" topic of the night dealt with the "touchy" subject of Joe Biden and how appropriate it is to give a hug or a kiss. Tim Aherne deftly manoeuvred his way around this contentious issue without digging a hole for himself. For dancing on the head of a pin, he was awarded the ribbon for Best Topic. However, every contributor to this lively session was a winner. The art of impromptu speaking is a hugely useful skill to develop, benefitting the speaker in many aspects of life - from social situations to job interviews and work presentations. Moreover, it allows members to assess all aspects of a given subject and to respect opposing points of view. Mark Twain once boasted that he took two weeks to prepare his "impromptu" speech. In Toastmasters we make it up as we go along.
Evaluators Vincent Harris, Rachel Liston, Noel O'Connor & Michael Cronin 

This week's Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting takes place on Wednesday night, which is prior to Thursday's newspaper publication. Nevertheless, plans are being laid forthe Speakeasy meeting that will be held on Thursday, 2nd May. It is our specialTheme Night - "Literary Speaking" where club members will interpret the magic of books, lifting the words off the page and bringing them to life. Full details will be announced next week. It promises to be another in a long line of fascinating Speakeasy ThemeNights. As always, guests are welcome to attend. For more information, please check out our website,speakeasytoastmasters.com or on Facebook. 

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

The spice of life.

Each Toastmasters meeting is a journey, or to more precise, a number of journeys as members of the audience get the opportunity to walk a mile in someone else's shoes when speakers share their stories, opinions and interests. 
Maria Connolly, Sean Corcoran & Michael Donegan. 

At last week's meeting, the audience were treated with two Icebreakers from new members. Shane O'Donnell presented "My Journey". Shane spoke of his journey from Mitchelstown to Mallow on alternate Thursday nights to Speakeasy to overcome his anxieties about speaking before an audience. He spoke of his life's journey, focusing on his career choices. Admitting that his reasons for choosing teaching were the short hours and the months of June, July and August, he realised that while the hours were good, teaching was not for him. "Choose a career that you like" was his candid advice. He spoke of other challenges too, not least his support of Leeds United!

Claire O'Connell brought us on a different journey. Fulfilling the role of TV interviewer, she chose Theresa O'Reilly as her interviewee. Claire's questions focused on Theresa's interest in horse riding. Theresa provided a fascinating insight into the work required in the horse industry, the training, the riding and the mucking out. Indeed, learning to ride a horse has it's lessons for life - "when you're thrown off a horse, you get back on the saddle straight away". Claire's interview elicited some fascinating facts on horse racing including the average pace of a racing horse - 48.2km.

Anne Marie Linehan presented her Icebreaker speech - "The benefit of exercise and activity for the older adult". She spoke of the challenges associated with old age when social interaction diminishes. She stressed the importance of promoting physical activities for the aged and it's cardiovascular benefits. She highlighted the need for social interaction and "fun" as a way to improve the phycological well being of the elderly.

In the final speech of the evening, Verna Byrne enlightened her audience with a look at "Superstitions, past and present".Why are we afraid to " walk under ladders"? It's an old Egyptian superstition where a ladder against a wall created a triangle that dissects the Gods. In Turkey, the chewing of gum after dark is likened to chewing rotted flesh. The tradition of saying "bless you"when someone sneezes goes back to the time of Pope Gregory in the sixth century as an incantation against plague. Sometimes, rituals can be confused with superstition. The tennis star, Rafa Nadal observes a very strict routine before and during matches in the way he places his water bottles. Perhaps, superstition should be treated with "a pinch of salt". In which case, it do we throw it over our shoulders?
Shane O'Donnell, Verna Byrne, Claire O'Connell & Anne Marie Linehan

Each speaker was subjected to a thorough evaluation from the team of evaluators. "Commend, recommend and commend" was the strategy applied by Noel O'Connor, Rachel Liston, Vincent Harris and Michael Cronin. At the meeting's conclusion, the GeneralEvaluator, Don McSweeney presented the Best Speaker Award to Shane O'Donnell and Best Evaluation to Rachel Liston.

The Division B Finals of the Speech and Evaluation Contests took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Limerick recently. Speakeasy was ably represented by Sean Corcoran, Brendan Foley and Pat Sexton. Ultimate victory went elsewhere on the day with Jane Sheehan, Killarney and Helen Dagnall, West Limerick emerging as the Speech and Evaluation Contests winners. Pat Sexton was placed second in the Evaluation Contest. The Club wishes both Jane and Helen every success in the District Finals in Norwich in May.

The next Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting will take place on Wednesday, 17th April in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM. Please note the change of night which is due to Easter Week. As always, guests are welcome to attend. Why not take thisopportunity to check out the club. Guests are never coerced to speak but are welcome to do so. Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday, 17th. 
For more information about our Club, please check out our website,speakeasytoastmasters.com or on Facebook. 

Monday, April 01, 2019

"Literary Speaking"

Speakeasy Toastmasters Club will hold "a theme night" on Thursday, 2nd May in the Hibernian Hotel at 8.00PM. "Literary Speaking" will be a night where the magic of the written word will be brought to life through the interpretive readings byvarious members. Well known Irish writers will have their words lifted from the pages of books and given meaning. Extracts from writers like Maeve Binchy, Myles NaGcopoleen and Joseph O'Connor will feature. Bobby Buckley will present "Beuwolf". Also scheduled is Sean Corcoran's rendition of "The Letter", based on the writings of John B Keane. Former member, the late John Dillon will be remembered by Anne Buckley's interpretation of one of his short stories.

In all, it promises to be a wonderful night for lovers of books and for anyone seeking entertainment. The Club extends an invite to the community to come along to this exciting event. 

Developing the skills of effectively delivering a speech or interpreting the words of others is just one of the many benefits of Toastmasters membership. Another skill that members acquire is the art of impromptu speaking or "speaking off the cuff". This assists members to hone their interpersonal communication skills - so essential in work situations and interviews. At the last Speakeasy meeting, Vincent Harris conducted the "Topics Session". Among the many topics discussed by members was our annual Feast Day "St. Patrick's Day" where "Leo met Conor" in America. Deirdre Linehan made an insightful contribution on the vexed question of "transgender in sports-is it a level playing field?" The question of whether Katie Taylor is "Ireland's GreatestSportswoman"elicited a big response. Given the "blood and bandage" nature of County Cork, much mention of our wonderful Camogie and Ladies Football Teams and notable stars like Rena Buckley and Breege Corkery were nominated. On a seasonal note, the subject of "the Dawn Chorus" brought a beautiful response from Jillian Harris and the chatter of birdsong in her garden.This contribution was deemed to be the Best Topic Contribution. 
Speech Evaluators Pat Sexton, Verna Byrne, Claire O'Connell, Bridie O'Connell & Bobby Buckley. 

The next Speakeasy Meeting will take place on Thursday, 4th April in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow at 8.00PM. At this meeting, it will be "business as usual" with Speeches, Evaluation and Topics Session. It promises to be a great night of entertainment and wordsmithery which will include an Ice-breaker Speech. As always, guests are welcome to attend and are never required to speak unless they wish to do so. The Club looks forward to seeing you on Thursday night. 
For more information, please check out our website, speakeasytoastmasters.com or on Facebook.