16 Jan 2022

Giving support and including all at Toastmasters Portlaoise

Club President, Mark Bastow, welcomed the Area Governor, Aoife Walsh to Portlaoise on her first visit to the club on Monday, November 12 last.

Club President, Mark Bastow, welcomed the Area Governor, Aoife Walsh to Portlaoise on her first visit to the club on Monday, November 12 last.

He chose the theme of ‘Support and Inclusiveness’ to show how everyone in the organisation is there to encourage and assist each other. This was reinforced by the Toastmaster on the night, Cora Cahill who thanked all the people who enabled her to take on that role for the first time. Considering how well she carried out this task, her mentors did a very fine job indeed!

The two speakers on the night were Paddy O’Shea and Brian Holland. Paddy was making his icebreaker speech, and this is always very special as each new speaker breathes new life into the club.

Paddy spoke in a charming manner of his fascinating life so far which has taken him from the remote corners of Kerry, to Germany and England and thankfully back once more to Ireland. He spoke fondly of his love of the land, of horses, of his wife and children, but not necessarily in that order of course. In fact he took particularly delight in telling us about the wonderful occasion when he first met his wife. Paddy’s warm confident manner and enthralling story ensured that the audience was hanging on his every word. Well done Paddy!

Bryan Holland followed with a highly entertaining Folktale, delivered in his uniquely dramatic and convincing manner. Bryan’s tale enthralled the audience and ensured that nobody that heard the story will ever regard the Rock of Dunamaise or the Money Tree near Mountrath in the same light again. Bryan is a master story-teller and never fails to delight the audience and convince them that every word in his tale is true. I wonder!!!

As always, both speeches were evaluated. Mary Heaney warmly congratulated Paddy on such a fine performance and Mark Bastow praised Bryan Holland for the very high standard of his advanced speech. The General Evaluator, Donal Cahill, added his congratulations to all concerned and choose Bryan as the worthy winner of the Geraldine O’Loughlin award on the night.

The most creative person of the evening had to be Ann Marie Mahon, who took on the role of Topics Master and gave it a whole new and interesting slant. She chose to present audience members with the first lines of songs, and they had to speak off the cuff on that topic. What an original idea and the audience response proved that Ann Marie was on to a winning formula.

Speaking spontaneously on lines like “If I were a rich man”, “How many roads can a man walk down” and “If I could turn back time” yielded very interesting and often hilarious responses. Well done Ann Marie. In fact the Area Governor stated that this meeting was one was of the best that she had attended. High praise indeed.

New guests continue to arrive each night to the delight of existing members and they are once again reminded that they are under no pressure to speak and that their first two meetings are free.

Why not come along and join in the fun. Next meeting is in the Killeshin Hotel at 8pm on Monday November 26t Hope to see you there.

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