Invitation to Tullamore Toastmasters 20th Anniversary Celebration

Invitation top

Calling all Toastmasters who have had association with Tullamore Toastmasters over the past 20 years.

This is a huge opportunity to gather up the richness and skill of the expression of the spoken word over the past 20 years. This is an open invitation to all who have graced a Toastmasters meeting in Tullamore in its relatively short but significant history. All are equally welcome, whether you have been a guest and came as an interested observer or you have held high office or you have reached the top of the ladder in speech craft and delivery. The invitation also goes out to people who have an interest in Toastmasters for the future.

A celebration is when people come together in lightness and fun to enjoy each others’ company and friendship. And it is also in this case, to extol the benefits of Toastmasters in all our lives, and these are manifold. In this comfortable non-judgemental gathering of people, Toastmasters has been able to bring out the best in us. This has ranged from people who want to prepare for the wedding speech, give the job presentation, break the ice with someone you fancy or simply have a love of the spoken word in and of itself.

The written word is only one way of sending a message to people, but Toastmasters have always relied on the warmth and personal connection of the spoken word, so if you know anyone who has been in Toastmasters or have an interest in it please mention it to them to come along on the night. This unique gathering takes place in The Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre, on Friday, June 12th. We would be grateful if people would contact us for numbers on the night. Please contact Timothy at 0863617092 or Eileen at 08660875102 Many thanks.

Committee 2014/2015

The Committee for the 2014/2015 Toastmasters year was elected at the AGM on the 29th of May and came into office on the 1st of July. The committee is as follows:

President: Timothy Green.
Vice President Education: Eileen McGrath.
Vice President Membership: Ciara Kinnarney.
Vice President Public Relations: Mike Keenan.
Secretary & Treasurer: Ciara Kinnarney.
Seargant at Arms (Fáilte Officer): Dolores Conroy.
Immediate Past Preisdent: Jennifer Dillon.


Internetional Speech Contest & Speech Evaluation Contest 2014: Results

The competition meeting on the 20th of February was chaired by Des Doyle. The first order of business for the night was to vote in new members. This was handled by our president, Jennifer Dillon. New members voted in were Des Doyle, Mike Keenan, Eileen McGrath, and Conor McCarthy.

Then, after a short topic session from our Topicsmaster for the night, Phil Newton, came the International Speech Contest. There were two entrants for the Contest, first Mike Keenan, with a speech entitled “Speaking the Music of Life”, then Timothy Green, with a speech entitled “She Sells Sea Shells on the Sea Shore”. After the Contest, there were a few more topics while the ballot counters totted up the results from the judges, and then a break for coffee, biscuits, and a chat.

After the break, there were a few more topics and then the Speech Evaluation Contest. Our guest speaker, Francis Keenan, VPE of Athlone Toastmasters, gave a poetic speech entitled “Wisdom”. The three contestants, Mike Keenan, Timothy Green, and Eileen McGrath, took notes on the speech, then went outside for five minutes preparation time (while Phil Newton engaged the audience with a few more topics). At the end of the five minutes, the contestants had to give up their notes. Then each contestant entered the room one at a time, receiving their notes back as they came in, and evaluated Francis Keenan’s speech, giving him feedback on where the speech was strong and where it could be improved.

After a final bout of topics, the winners of the two contests were announced: Mike Keenan won the International Speech Contest and Timothy Green won the speech evaluation contest. The winners will go on to represent the club at the Area Final.

The area final will be on Monday the 7th of April. The venue has yet to be confirmed, but will probably be the Prince of Wales Hotel in Athlone.

Note: One of the requirements of the International Speech Contest is that the contestant has already given six speeches in Toastmasters. Mike Keenan had achieved this, even though he’s a new member, as he is also a member of Athlone Toastmasters. This requirement does not apply to the Speech Evaluation Contest or other contests. This was, in fact, the first evaluation Eileen McGrath had given. This is the third year running in Tullamore Toastmasters where a new member has given their first ever evaluation as part of the Speech Evaluation Contest.

AGM 2013

The last meeting of Tullamore Toastmasters, on the 9th of May 2013, was also the AGM. The meeting began with an abbreviated topics session run by new member Paul Stephenson, followed by one speech from Claire O’Brien. This was followed by the AGM, presided over by the outgoing president Patrick Hynes.

The new committee was appointed as follows:
President: Jennifer Dillon.
Vice-President Education: Timothy Green.
Treasurer / Secretary: Ciara Kinarney.
PRO: Claire O’Brien.
Fáilte Officer: Mary McKernon.

There will be one further meeting in this season of Toastmasters, on Thursday the 23rd of May, followed by the summer break, during which the new committee will take up their duties. Tulllamore Toastmasters will then reconvene in September.

Breaking ice with the Asgard

It’s always good to get an Icebreaker speech.

A new member’s first speech at Toastmasters is known as the Icebreaker. It offers the new member a chance to introduce themselves to the club, and to say something about their interests. We had an excellent one at our last meeting, as Paul Stephenson told us some accounts of his life on the Asgard.

Paul came to a few Tullamore Toastmasters meetings as a guest, before joining the club. In this, his first speech, he told us a little about his childhood, education, and time in the navy. But the centrepiece of the speech was the tale of the time he spent on the training ship Asgard. In his telling, Paul evoked the feel of the small sailing ship, bringing his audience with him on a tour of the vessel. from the cabins (which smelled) to the rigging (which soared). He described his fellow-crew members, and spoke to us of evenings ashore and nights aboard; of nights in port and nights at sea; and of trainees young and trainees old. (There were always two separate groups in the pub of an evening, he told us.)

Paul left the Asgard not long before she was lost (luckily with no loss of life) in the Bay of Biscay. His time aboard had come to an end, but people he’d spent a lot of time with in close quarters were on the ship when it sank. Paul’s speech was an excellent demonstration of the art of storytelling, and we look forward to his future contributions to the club.

Tullamore Toastmasters is always open to visitors. Come and see for yourself what we’re at.

What Tullamore Toastmasters means to me

For me the Tullamore Toastmasters Club is much more than a place where I can develop my public speaking and leadership skills. It is a social outlet, a place where I have met and learned from new people. Our club is an eclectic mix of fun and interesting characters and of young and old spanning 7 decades! Everyone is non judgmental and gently encourages each other to progress. Why I love our club is that I have learned to laugh at myself and to not care as much if a topic comes up which I know nothing about and believe me this has happened many times! I am not as au fait with general knowledge (sport,history, politics or basically anything that’s happening in the news) as some of the other members but it doesn’t really matter. Toastmasters is about building confidence and public speaking skills in a supportive and fun environment, it’s not about how much you know.

Since I joined our club over a year ago I certainly feel my confidence has grown and although I still shy away from topics I look forward to some day meeting that challenge head on.

Jennifer Dillon

Club PRO 2011/12