Speakers at the Mullingar Toastmasters open night - Ian Cahill, Cllr Hazel Smyth, Pauline McCabe and Pat Kenny.

Toastmasters host mayor of Mullingar on open night

There were nerves and excitement in the Greville Arms on Thursday January 26 as Mullingar Toastmasters hosted their first open night of the year.

Club president Lorraine Murphy welcomed all, extending a special welcome to guest speaker Cllr Hazel Smyth, mayor of the Municipal District of Mullingar Kinnegad, then handed over to the Toastmaster of the evening, John Waldron.

John is one of the longest-serving members of the club and his experience paved a safe passage through the night’s events.

Fáilte officer Deirdre Bigley said there were 20 members and eight guests present. On the clock was timer Derek Walsh, whose attention to detail ensured no time would be wasted.

Grammarian Niamh Tubridy introduced the word of the night – dichotomy – and it was time to sit back and enjoy the speeches.

First up was Ian Cahill a speech in entitled ‘Fact or Fiction’, a humorous but informative address about artificial intelligence and, as usual, Ian turned this seven minutes into a hilarious monologue that would not be out of place in a comedy club,

The speech was evaluated by Tom Byrne, who complimented Ian on a well-crafted speech with plenty of humour and information. He gave a special mention to Ian’s ability to tell a good story.

Next up was Pat Kenny with a sobering speech entitled ‘Rebel with a Cause’. Pat spoke about Vicky Phelan and a struggle she never should have had and her incredible advocacy work. Delivering his powerful words while standing still, Pat captivated the room.

Mary Frances Cox evaluated Pat’s speech and gave the subject matter the respect it deserved. She complimented Pat on a well written and delivered speech with an important story.

Pauline McCabe was the third speaker of the night. With a touch of Ian’s subject, she spoke of a third party in their marriage – Alexa. When the device stole the attention of her husband, she had to go. Full of gestures and one-liners, this speech was a one-woman show. Pauline was evaluated by Joan Heduan, who praised her humour, timing and content.

The fourth and final speech came from special guest speaker, Cllr Smith, who spoke of her life from entering politics to personal events that shaped her. It was an inspirational story told by an impressive woman, and Hazel captivated the room with her warm smile and dedication to make a difference. The Toastmasters hope to see Hazel back with them in the future.

After a tea break, it was time for the table topics with Damien Rooney. There was a wide range of topics, and many members got involved with several add-ons to the subjects. Topics allow everyone to speak, if they wish to, and the session was lively and fun.

General evaluator Anke Bunau congratulated everyone on a brilliant evening, complimented the role players including the evaluators and recognised the work that went on in the background.

Lorraine Murphy acknowledged what everyone in the room was thinking – it was a brilliant open night. She then invited the committee to take a bow and said it was their work that makes the club so successful.

Finally, she spoke directly to the guests: “If you watched tonight’s speeches and thought you can never do that, think again. We all started exactly where you are – as guests in this incredible club. There is nothing you can’t do.”

Mullingar Toastmasters meet every second and fourth Thursday at 8pm in The Greville Arms Hotel. Next meeting is Thursday 9 February.

Guests and new members always welcome. Please contact mullingartoastmasters@gmail.com at mullingartoastmasters.org or on Facebook.