Our President Jerry Hennessy and the members of the Fermoy Toastmasters Club extend warm New Year greetings and good wishes to all of our many friends and supporters and look forward to another very promising season of meetings beginning on Tuesday evening next, January 7th, at 8.15 pm in the Grand Hotel, Fermoy.
This will be our first meeting after the month-long Christmas break. 2013 was a very successful year for the club which was celebrated with a memorably pleasant and enjoyable festive gathering on December 10th when we held our annual Tall Tales contest that was won with style and aplomb by John Sherlock. This was followed by hospitality and refreshments where everyone added to the joy of the occasion in music and song, the recitation of favourite poems both comic and poignant all blended so effectively together with that entirely spontaneous magic of friends rejoicing in each other’s company. We are a fun group of people, warm, relaxed and welcoming; our club is a forum where everyone can be themselves bringing together the very best that we each have to offer in a vibrant and enriching affirmation of the joy of life.
We have turned the corner of the year. On the recent winter solstice, for the first time in some six years since just before the terrible financial crash, the light of sunrise reached right into the very heart of the Neolithic mound at Newgrange in Co Meath. May it be an optimistic and hopeful portent of brighter and better days for this country and for us all after the trials and difficulties of recent times. And in that same positive and confident spirit, Fermoy Toastmasters sets out once more on our shared journey to new beginnings and fresh achievement, encouraging the arts of communication and understanding, firing the imagination and warming the hearts of everyone, bringing together the creativity and energy of friends making lives happier and better in every way.
It is almost forty-five years now since the late Niall Brunicardi and Padraig O’Braoin first established a Toastmasters Club in Fermoy. It is now the third longest established club in the country. That the town and community have built and sustained this great club across that span of time is indeed a great and remarkable achievement. In 1970 there were plenty of dark clouds in the sky: war was still raging in Vietnam, conflict had broken out in Northern Ireland and the banks were shut for a six month strike. There were lots of reasons for people to feel worried and apprehensive, offering plenty of excuses for sitting tight and doing nothing.
But that has never been the outlook of those who carry such vision and imagination in their hearts and who believe that life can be made better, that we all have within us the capacity to reach ever higher and that no matter what there is always opportunity for enjoyment and personal growth. And so it is that while wars and conflicts burn themselves out; while the faces may have changed over time, the animating generosity of spirit is always the same. For two hours every two weeks on the banks of the River Blackwater in Fermoy, the Toastmasters are still holding lively, stimulating and entertaining meetings. To rise to the task and meet the most agreeable of challenge in a heady and engaging mixture of speaking, thinking and listening enriches the personality and broadens and warms the heart.
To widen our horizons, to stimulate the powers of thought and expression, to share the immense pleasure of interaction with our fellow members and friends in a most genial and convivial atmosphere towards a better and more rewarding life are the real and lasting fruits of participation. In making a brief impromptu reply to a topic that comes our way is a powerful and illuminating stimulus to the mind. By going to the lectern to make a short but well-crafted speech is a source of great satisfaction that allows everyone to take something away and reflect upon long after the meeting is over. Moreover to listen with true discernment to the contribution of someone else and offer a thoughtful, helpful and positive assessment of same helps us find an added richness within ourselves.
All along the way there is such a great spirit of eagerness and spontaneity, of humour, laughter and shared goodwill, carrying us forward in the coming months as it has all those who have graced and participated in this wonderful club in four and a half decades. That journey is endless and is open to everyone with the willingness to give it a go. When we believe in ourselves we will be believed in by all. The outset of another year is the ideal moment to set out on a new personal journey of discovery and there is no better way of doing that than by coming to the first meeting of the Fermoy Toastmasters where all are so cordially welcome on Tuesday evening next, January 7th, in the Grand Hotel, Fermoy, at 8,15 pm. For further information, please contact Fanahan Colbert at 086 8239007 or Kevin Walsh at 058 60100 or log on to toastmastersfermoy.com.