Archives for Cork

Guest Division A

Guest Division A

Division A – Phillip O’Brien ACG ALB

Division A, along the beautiful Wild Atlantic Way on County Cork includes Areas 3, 11, 23 and 49.

The Division has 21 clubs from as far east as Garryvoe to the west in Bantry. We started the year with 20 clubs and McAfee Toastmasters chartered in October 2018.

I was approached to take over as Division Director from Maura Meaney back in October 2018 and having served as Area 11 Director the year before I was familiar with Division Council workings and accepted. I would like to acknowledge Maura’s assistance to me in the transition and since then as she is someone I could bounce a few ideas off.

I’ve been a Toastmaster for five years now and my service as Division Director has allowed me work within the Division towards wider goals and just at the time of writing Division A has become a President’s Distinguished Division.

The Division held two successful Club Officer Training days in August and in February which were very well attended by officers from most clubs in the Division and these days covered a wide variety of subject matter.

The Division held two Contests – Humorous Speech and Table Topics in November and the International Speech and Evaluation Contest on April. Our four winners – Laura Mehigan, Humourous Speech (Cork Douglas TM); Murt Ó Súillabháin, Table Topics (Bishopston TM); Paschal O’Leary, International Speech (Guardian TM) and Margaret O’Flynn, Evaluation (Talking Heads TM) – all competed in Norwich at the District 71 Conference and the Division, their clubs and themselves proud.

Division A Table Topics L-R Murt O Súilleabháin (Bishopstown) 1st; Division Director Phillip O’Brien; John Keating (Republic of Work) 2nd and Eric Downey (Cork East) 3rd

Division A Humorous Speech: L-R Laura Mehigan (Cork Douglas) 1st; Division Director Phillip O’Brien; Holly Blake (Carrigaline) 2nd and Paula Kelleher(Guardian) 3rd. 

Division A Evaluation L-R Deirdre O’Mahony (Carrigaline) 2nd; Division Director Phillip O’Brien; Margaret O’Flynn (Talking Heads) 1st and Neil O’Brien (Blarney) 3rd.

Division A International Speech L-R Holly Blake (Carrigaline) 2nd; Division Director Phillip O’Brien; Paschal O’Leary (Guardian) 1st and Eric Downey (Cork East) 3rd. 

#Norwich19 Division A contestants

Laura Mehigan, Cork Douglas, Humorous Speech

Paschal O’Leary, Guardian, International Speech

Murt O Súilleabháin, Bishopstown, Table Topics

Margaret O’Flynn, Talking Heads, Evaluation 

I am very pleased that we have had six new DTMs in Division A – Moira O’Brien (Lee Valley Speakers), John Colbert (Talking Heads) Joey O’Leary (Kinsale & District), Damien Lynch (Cork Douglas), Sean McCarthy (Cork Douglas) and Pat Duggan (Guardian) – congratulations to them all.

We had three notable club anniversaries in the Division – Bishopstown and Kinsale & District both celebrated ten years and Bandon Toastmasters celebrated thirty years.

One of our clubs, Kinsale & District, had a coach appointed and last week, for the first time in nine years that club has become Distinguished and Select Distinguished in its tenth anniversary year. Kinsale went from requiring a club coach to President’s Distinguished Club this year also

In all clubs I have visited I have been extended a warm and cordial welcome and I look forward to visiting again.

Bandon 30th celebrations L-R: Club President Colette O’Donovan; Immediate Past President Imelda Westcott; Area 11 Director Alun Rees; Division A Director Phillip O’Brien and District 71 Club Growth Director Gerard Mannix.

Bandon Toastmasters celebrated 30 years. Left of plaque is President Colette O’Donovan and right of plaque is immediate past President Imelda Westcott.

Kinsale 10th Anniversary L-R: Kinsale President Willie Grainger; Joey O’Leary receiving her DTM plaque and Club Coach/Division Director Phillip O’Brien. .

Finally, I want to thank the members of the Division Council – Mari Manning (A3), Alun Rees (A11), Charlie Corrigan (A23), Darren Burnett (A49) and Beryl Cronin (Asst A3) for working so hard for their Areas and the Division.

Outgoing Division Council 2018/2019 L-R: Charlie Corrigan, Area 23; Mari Manning, Area 3; Division Director, Phillip O’Brien; Alun Rees, Area 11 and Darren Burnett, Area 49.

Division A is President’s Distinguished for 2018/2019.

Division Council 2019/2020 L-R: David Ryan (Bandon) Area 11; Aidan Coakley (Cork Douglas) Area 23; Division Director, Phillip O’Brien; Paul O’Mahony (Blarney) Area 3 and Darren Burnett (Powdermills) Area 49.

Area 3 – Mari Manning

Area 3 – Division A encompasses six Toastmasters clubs; Cork East TM, Midleton TM, Talking Heads TM, Garryvoe, Blarney TM, Guardian TM and McAfee TM (Corporate).

Pathways: As an Area, we have embraced Pathways as the mechanisms have become clearer and EVPs/ mentors in the clubs have been encouraging members to ‘have a go’. It has proved to be a useful tool in recruiting new members too.

Contests: We have also had some considerable success in the recent contests with Margaret O’Flynn, Talking Heads Toastmasters, winning the Area 3 & Division A, Evaluation contests and taking second place in the finals at the Norwich Conference. Paschal O’Leary, President of Guardian TM won the Area 3 International Speech contest and ably represented his club in the finals at the Norwich Conference. Well done to both.

We would also like to highlight the winners of our Area 3 Final Evaluations contest, 2019, Niall O’Brien, Blarney, TM, 1st place and Eric Downey, President of Cork East Toastmasters, 2nd place.

Club visits are taking place now with excellent achievements by Toastmasters in each club. Sharon O’Neill (Blarney TM) has achieved a L2 in Pathways with several members in her club now motivated to reach that level. Dr. Shirley Gallagher (Cork East TM and our new club Pathways Co-Ordinator) has achieved L1 Pathways and is currently sailing through L2 which she hopes to complete shortly. Several members of Cork East are currently on track to achieve L1 Pathways, shortly under her guidance.

Congratulations to our newest Area 3 DTM, Pat Duggan from Guardian Toastmasters, a great achievement by a very experienced Toastmaster. Pat has been a great inspiration to many new Toastmasters over the years and we wish him all the best as he steps back from Toastmasters – for now!

As outgoing Area Director of Area 3, I would like to express my thanks to my assistant for the past year, Beryl Cronin, CC. CL. ALB, whose knowledge and support were invaluable. I’ve met some wonderful people along the way, who were always willing to step up and help when called upon, in the true spirit of Toastmasters.

I would like to welcome the incoming Area Director, Paul O’Mahony and wish him the best of luck in the coming year.

Area 11

By Alun Rees

Area 11 consists of 5 clubs, with Bantry in the west, Lee Valley in the north and Kinsale, Bandon and West Cork spread along the beautiful Wild Atlantic Way. The area enclosed is 673 square miles or 430,731 acres. This area is mostly rural, sparsely populated with an economy largely dependent on farming and tourism.

It has been a privilege to serve the Area over the past 12 months, to see consolidation in the growth of most clubs and to experience and reflect on the diverse characteristics, and characters, of each club.

One thing that I have learned is that Toastmasters come in all shapes, sizes, abilities, attitudes, motivations and mind-sets. The one thing that they all share is a desire to tell their stories, to find a way of expressing what is inside them and to experience the joy of effective communication with others.

The delight of listening to the 20 or more past presidents of Bandon Toastmasters sharing their experiences at the club’s 30th anniversary was very special. Equally exciting was that unique moment shared with a single individual who has made their icebreaker speech after years believing they could never speak up.

I have been impressed by the officers who work hard to ensure club meetings happen, who give up their spare time so that others can enjoy these moments of magic, of fellowship, of creativity and pleasure for all that Toastmasters can bring.

If you are in any doubt about taking on a role at a meeting, on your club’s executive or within Area, Division or District embrace the opportunity. You will be rewarded, and the time spent repaid several times over through the experiences you enjoy in the company of others and that you have helped to create.

Thank you everyone in Area 11.

Area 23

By Charlie Corrigan

Carrigaline Toastmasters Club

Carrigaline Toastmasters continues to go from strength to strength with membership further increasing this year.

Holly Blake represented the club and area 23 in the Division A Speech Contest. (see photo)

In December 2018 the club was successful in having an article on the benefits of Toastmasters published on “THECORK.IE, Cork’s very own online publication. This has increased the numbers of guests visiting the club.

See link:

Former President Colm Nestor was a guest at Cork Yarnspinners recently where he enthralled the audience. (see photo)

Carrigaline Toastmasters scored a double recently with Deirdre O’Mahony and Holly Blake representing Area 23 in the Division A Speech and Evaluation Contests. They performed very well and were placed runners up in each contest. Well done Deirdre and Holly. (see photo)

Cork Toastmasters Club

Cork Toastmasters has had a very successful year with membership growing strongly. During the year the club moved its base from the Ambassador Hotel to the Kingsley Hotel. This has proved a very successful step with excellent facilities at the hotel and its location making it very accessible.

Cork Toastmasters was Cork city’s first Toastmasters Club and is celebrating its 51st year in existence. The photo shows Martin Kerrigan as the 51st President of the club with the outgoing President Joan Fuller. (see photo)

Cork Douglas Toastmasters Club

Two DTMs in one go.

Cork Douglas Toastmasters are pleased to announce, that two of our members have achieved the highest of the many accreditations from Toastmasters International that of Distinguished Toastmaster or DTM. For any club to have a Distinguished Toastmaster or DTM as a member is a bonus but, to have two at the same time is somewhat unique, in that roughly one per-cent of Toastmasters worldwide get to achieve it.

The awards were presented (L-R) by Toastmaster Aidan Coakley (Club President) to Damien Lynch DTM and, by Toastmaster Charlie Corrigan (Area 23 Director) to Toastmaster Sean McCarthy DTM (see photo)

The success of Cork Douglas Toastmasters is showing in its recent achievements and, yes we do have a long way to go: –

  • Two DTM recipient’s in recent times.
  • Growth in membership.
  • An average of four Guests or visitors per meeting. (68 to date)

2019 saw our first member Laura Mehigan representing our Division (Division A) in the Humourous Speech Contest at the District 71 Conference in Norwich recently.

The photo shows Laura receiving her well-deserved first place award at our Club Humourous Speech. (see photo)

Crusaders Toastmasters Club

Crusaders Toastmasters Club has made the move from the SMA Community Hall in Wilton to the Kingsley Hotel, Carrigrohane Road. The move has gone smoothly, and the club is attracting more guests in its new setting.

Republic of Work Toastmasters

Republic of Work Toastmasters Club is unique in Cork in that it has weekly meetings on Monday evenings at 6.30pm in the Republic of Work building on the South Mall. The club is just over a year old and has a very young membership profile This has to augur well for the club’s future. The photos show members enjoying themselves at a recent meeting. (see photos)

Area 49

Darren Burnett

Area 49 consists of three corporate clubs (Apple, DellEMC and VMware) along with two community clubs (Powdermills and Bishopstown).   This gives a pleasant variety in skills and focus.  Having corporate clubs with an emphasis on technology has aided with the adoption of Pathways.  Although only being a relatively new member to Toastmasters, Alexandra Brandt (VMware) delivered multiple presentations on her experience with Pathways.  This included tips and tricks that she had picked up on her journey.  She conveyed this to her own club in VMware, and to the other clubs in the Area.  The delivery was facilitated by some club visits and through club officer training.  Technology is being effectively utilised by DellEMC who host their meetings across three sites using teleconference facilities.   This has proven very valuable and was also utilised in recent club officer training to make possible corporate club attendance during work hours   Our corporate and community clubs are looking at how they can collaborate more as we head into a new Toastmaster year.  This will potentially include for the first time in Area 49, a corporate club hosting an area competition.  In competitions, our excellent Murt Ó Súilleabháin represented Bishopstown Toastmasters in the Norwich District 71 Conference for Table Topics where the feedback from those that saw him was excellent.  Area 49 also saw some anniversaries.  VMware Toastmasters reached their 100th club meeting which received a lot of recognition.  While Bishopstown Toastmasters marked their 10th year milestone (since chartering in 2009) with a visit from the Lord Mayor of Cork.

Bishopstown members celebrate Speechcraft Graduates!

By Krystal Long.

On Saturday 13th April 2019, members of Bishopstown Toastmasters in Division A celebrate the success of their Speechcraft participants as they successfully completed 8 weeks of communication and leadership training.

The Journey began on Saturday 26th January with four members of Bishopstown Toastmasters club, led by Krystal Long (Coordinator) with the assistance of Carol O’ Donovan, Anita Howard and Murt Ó Súilleabháin. An amazing journey with eight fantastic participants who were dedicated to enhancing and developing their public speaking, communication, presentation and leadership skills to name but a few.

Each participant brought something different, wonderful, fun, educational, inspiring, to the heart felt personal stories of overcoming challenges and adversity. To also one participant travelling up and down to Cork in the south each week from Co. Galway in the west of Ireland.

All participants received the opportunity to experience the Toastmasters Club Experience. Each session was delivered the same as you would expect to see in a Toastmasters meeting. All roles were fulfilled and mastered by our participants such as: Timekeeper, Table Topics Masters, Ah counter, Grammarian and especially the all-important role of evaluators.

Some participants of the very successful Speechcraft program. Front Row L-R Coordinator Krystal Long (Cork TM), Division Director Phillip O’Brien and Team Member Anita Howard (Bishopstown)

Pictures by Philip O’ Byrne 2019 ©

Not only that but also they had the opportunity to give and master skills of organising and delivering a great speech, overcoming nervousness, thinking fast and mastering the art of impromptu speaking with Table Topics, speaking with conviction and becoming an effective listener, advancing their social skills, use of voice for maximum impact and improving work and life prospects and also they learned about the art of giving effective evaluations.

All these important elements of public speaking, and the structures of the Toastmaster’s club experience were delivered to a very high standard and the toastmaster members themselves and the participants have all enjoyed being a part of the experience.

On the final session, graduation day all participants shared what the programme meant for them in their lives and how much they have enjoyed the experience. It was a great moment for all to reflect on the journey, sharing great memories and as a reminder to us Toastmasters how much we too have benefited from our own individual journeys. Toastmasters and speechcraft changes lives, by empowering people to become their best selves! Also, a special thanks to our Division A Director Phillip O’ Brien who attended the celebration and shared some moments of his own wonderful experiences of Toastmasters with an invitation to the participants to join our Toastmaster community.

In the words of Toastmasters founder:

Dr Ralph C. Smedley “Let us share the benefits we have gained for ourselves with others!”

I would like to invite my fellow Toastmaster members and clubs to embark on this truly wonderful experience. It is a great way to further develop your skills outside and inside a Toastmaster’s club. Take the opportunity to share with others all you have gained and benefitted from Toastmasters and let’s pay it forward!!


#SafeHaven2018 All the photos online

Full photo-sets from District 71’s Conference in Cork, Ireland, May 2018 #WeAreToastmasters. These are published on the Conference’s Facebook page.

Depending on your browser you might see embedded iframe albums from Facebook below

7 sleeps to go! Second-last Safe Haven newsletter!

On behalf of the conference team, it’s my pleasure to share the 4th edition of the Safe Haven conference newsletter: SafeHaven2018 conference newsletter, No. 4 – click the highlighted text to open the PDF.

Happy reading, and I hope to see you there!

Laura Bruce

D71 Public Relations Manager


News from SafeHaven 2018 Conference team

Hot off the press, it’s the debut edition of the Safehaven Conference Newsletter.

The SafeHaven team in Cork have news!

Volume 1 of the SafeHaven newsletter includes everything you need to book a place at the D71 Spring Conference. This includes details of how you must book the conference first before you can book accommodation.

But that’s not all. . .

Read More