What to do when I am far away from home? Away from my wife and two boys. Away from my friends. Away from my home Toastmasters’ club.
I recently started a new career with an Irish company, and my beginning months require me to work and train for many weeks in the dynamic and lyrical capital of the Emerald Isle, Dublin.
Thanks to the magic of the Toastmasters International “Find a Club” link, I found a club on a city block away from Lower Pembroke Street, where I spend my days working with software trainers and developers.
It was a chilly and windy night in Dublin, but I was warmed but the genuine welcome I received from the PowerTalk Toastmasters club. I was greeted by club President Adrian Harney and all of the members.
PowerTalk is an open club, but many of its members are employees of ESB, an Irish utility company headquartered in City Centre.
The Area Governor, Niamh Gourlay, was also a guest.
Of all the clubs I know of in Colorado, none has a Poetmaster. Perhaps they should. Eddie O’Connor, Poetmaster, gave a well-delivered introduction to Chilean Noble Prize Winner (1971) Pablo Naruda, then read Naruda’s emotional poem A Dog Has Died.
Grammarian Cormac O’Reilly challenged us as with a very Dublin-esque word – “grushie”. Imagine throwing a handful of coins near a group of children. The melee that ensues while the kids scramble afoot to grab every last one of the coins – that’s a “grushie”.
John O’Donoghue gave his second speech from the Competent Communicator manual on “Coastal Rowing”. It was an excellent speech not only because it was well-delivered but also because it was an appropriate topic to “Organise Your Speech”.
Table Topics was interesting because there were 10 topics – all unknown. You simply let the Table Topics Master know which numbered question you wanted – and then you got a unique topic. However, many wished to comment upon a very thoughtful question – “Should Mandarin be offered in Secondary School [Irish equivalent of High School] for students to take as an elective?”, and for the first part of table topics it was a healthy debate with opinions weighing in both for and against.
I felt obliged to participate and my topic was “Do women like to watch sports with men?” I felt myself stumbling around trying to recall a time when women had less opportunities in sports and it was tough to talk intelligently about 40 odd years of progress in women’s sports within two minutes but I certainly appreciated taking on a challenging question.
Niamh Gourlay gave a solid evaluation of John Donoghue’s speech, and Cormac O’Reilly gave a thorough and thoughtful critique of the meeting which then adjourned.
Afterwards I was honored to be invited to tea and I had a chance to talk with many of the members including Stephen Donlon, Cormac O’Reilly, Eddie O’Connor, Rachel O’Connor and Adrian Harney, plus Niamh Gourlay. It was fun to compare notes on clubs on different sides of the Atlantic. While there certainly are differences, I realized that the goals are the same no matter what – member engagement, providing interesting meetings, growth of the individual members as well as fellowship with one another.
Thanks again to the PowerTalk Toastmasters of Dublin Ireland – it was great to visit with you all.