If you want to get ahead, get a hat! The local Toastmasters donned fancy headwear for their last meeting before the summer break (back from left) Anthony Viney, Anne Von Bunau, Hijesh Lohidhakshan, John Waldron, Damien Rooney and Niamh Tubridy; (front) Philip Howlin, Deirdre Bigley, Mags Healy Donoghue, Loraine Murphy, Jacqui Wiley, Nancy Ormonde and Oonagh Waldron.

Mullingar Toastmasters are 'Simply the Best'

Mullingar Toastmasters rounded off the season with a cracking session at the Greville Arms Hotel on May 25. Vice-president, education, Mags Healy Donoghue had members sporting a variety of hats, everything from umbrella hats to showers nets and fedoras and even a Second World War tin helmet. Toastmaster of the night, Damien Rooney, proved an able MC, and pointed out that Toastmasters had now successfully made the transition from Zoom to room.

With five speeches in the line-up, Oonagh Waldron dazzled with extracts from her fantastic podcast on the theme of the Banshees of Tipperary, a tragic tale inspired by the doomed Titanic voyage. If there was an Oscar to be awarded, Oonagh would certainly have clinched it.

Next up, Hijesh Lohidhakshan gave compelling presentation ‘What is Data Engineering?’. Hijesh explored how raw data is sown, nurtured and harvested before it reaches us.

The third speech was delivered by Tom Byrne, asking everyone to decide whether he was a ‘mentor or a fraud’. With his knack for combining humour and honesty, Tom showed how desires to succeed and desires to help others are, in fact, complementary.

The theme of helping others was at the fore of the next speech by Mags Healy Donoghue, entitled ‘The Voyage Continues’. Mags recalled her first speech as VPE when she said it was all about the stretch, and praised members for embracing challenges over the year.

Last, veteran Toastmaster, Philip Howlin took his audience on The Hero’s Journey, demonstrating, in passing, how both Lorraine Murphy and Anthony Viney had, through their debut novels, been forced to leave their comfort zones in order to battle for success. A lesson for all.

Following a break, Brian McLoughlin, Philip Howlin, Deirdre Bigley, Niamh Tubridy and Tom Byrne provided a series of superb evaluations. All praised the speakers on the quality of their delivery, passion and engagement with the audience, while offering areas for improvement.

A cracking table topics session the included diverse subjects such as choosing between apple pie and ice cream, and the power of sport.

Under the watchful eye of timer Lorraine Murphy and endeavouring to employ the word of the night, ‘effervescence’, selected by grammarian, Anke von Bunau, all participants rose to the occasion. The room was fizzing!

General evaluator, John Waldron, summed up the evening, praising Deirdre in her role as fáilte officer and everyone else for organising a successful final meeting.

And then it was time to announce th Toastmaster of the Year. It is voted by the members and Mags Healy Donoghue took the title with a runaway lead. Mags has been an incredible help, support and inspiration to all in the club this year. Thank you, Mags.

Last words were reserved for Lorraine Murphy, who surprised the audience with personalised certificates for members who had demonstrated everything from innovation and learning to advocacy and even making pizza!

In the words of Tina Turner, RIP, Mullingar Toastmasters are simply the best!

Mullingar Toastmasters are back for another year on Thursday September 14 at 8pm. They meet on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. Maybe this is your year to join us? You won’t be disappointed! Contact mullingartoastmasters@gmail.com or find us them Facebook.