A Speakeasy night of culture and travel in the comfort of the Hi-Bi
LAST week’s meeting of Speakeasy Toastmasters was a night of culture and travel - from Japan to the early days of transatlantic flight, and from the vineyards of Alsace to the ski slopes of Austria.
It was a meeting where the common theme was travel and mobility. Valerie Murphy commenced proceedings with a speech entitled ‘Preparation for my first week in Japan’.
She recalled her experiences as a 22 year old student in Japan, setting off on a year long term of teaching English in Konin City. It all began with an orientation course in Tokyo where Valerie was awe struck by the sight of the new and exciting Neon lights and skyscrapers that seemed to sway in the breeze.
And that was just the start of a fruitful and challenging year in Valerie’s life.
Theresa O’Reilly kept the theme breezing along with ‘Smooth Driving’. This was a sales presentation on the art of ‘Cold Calling’. With the willing participation of Marie Fitzpatrick, Theresa deftly demonstrated the skills required to successfully develop a rapport with a potential client and how to close the sale. The items on sale were a fleet of Volkswagon vans.
Jillian Harris artfully presented ‘A great expectation’. She bought the group back to 1980s, when German wine exporters targeted the Irish market with labels like Blue Nun and Black Tower, wines of dubious quality.
Great German wines were considered too good to export. They were kept for the home market and inferior quality plonk exported. A huge mistake as the German wine industry still had not found favour in Irish hearts.
Gillian spoke glowingly about the charms of the Riesling grape and it’s aromatic dry wines, a warm companion on a cold night. She outlined it’s aging qualities and described wines with a vintage of a century or more, which seemed rather sad for those in the audience who wish to enjoy a wine in their own lifetime.
Don McSweeney took on a journey to ‘Foynes and Beyond’. He recalled the days when flying was in it’s infancy and when aviation’s biggest challenge was to cross the Atlantic.
It was the era of the flying boat and the village of Foynes in the Shannon Estuary became the hub for Pan American flights into Europe, becoming one of the largest airports in the world.
Liam Jones closed out the Speech Programme with his outlandish tale of ‘Séamus with a Fada’. He flew the audience to the Austrian Alps, with the flamboyant Limerick man, the maestro of the belly-dance and a dapper dresser who deemed it appropriate to wear his all white ensemble on the piste. Needless to say that all forms of mayhem ensued with the irrepressible Séamus sliding backwards down the ‘Mercy Slide’ to earn his place in Austrian folklore.
The Toastmaster of the meeting was John Brennan. Though new to the Club, he performed like a seasoned professional, introducing each speaker with style and creating a positive, friendly environment.
Topics master of the evening Bridie O’Connell challenged the impromptu skills with provocative questions on the negative impact of Facebook, temptation, first impressions and the future of electric cars. The group learned that Facebook is like a fridge - you know that there is nothing in there but you look anyway.
The General Evaluator, Sean Corcoran appraised the meetings strengths and awarded prizes to Marie Fitzpatrick (Best Topic), Mary Buckley (Best Evaluation) and Jillian Harris (Best Speaker).
The meeting season continues on Thursday, November 16. For more information about Speakeasy please visit the website speakeasytoastmas.com or follow on Facebook.
Alternatively, contact Helsa Giles 083 8858848.