YET another Michael Collins will be making an appearance in West Cork this month.
But this Mr Collins is neither a soldier nor a TD. He is the district director of Toastmasters Ireland and UK, and has been invited here by the West Cork Toastmasters club.
The meeting takes place at 11am on Saturday 21st in the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery.
‘It was rather strange for me to be inviting Michael Collins to visit our club when General Michael Collins was born in Woodfield, not very far from the Celtic Ross Hotel,’ John Keating, president of West Cork Toastmasters, told The Southern Star.
‘Our club is thriving and as January is the month for new beginnings we are looking forward to welcoming many new members.’ The West Cork club has a membership of 30, making it the second largest club in Cork city and county. Mr Collins joked that, standing 6’5” tall, although he was no relation of ‘The Big Fellow’ he may well be called ‘The Long Fellow’.
Michael joined Toastmasters over 13 years ago, first as a member of Raheen Toastmasters in Limerick and then Shannon Toastmasters in neighbouring Clare. ‘My first speech was pretty much read out, I was relieved to have it over to be honest! But I have been hooked ever since.’
Since then he has been asked to MC a variety of events including triathlons, marathons, charity auctions, debates and even performed the opening comedy act for a Colin Murphy gig in Dolans of Limerick.
He also came second in the Ireland and UK Toastmasters Humorous Speech in 2008, and took the third place in the Impromptu Speech Contest in 2013 for both countries.
‘The people you meet, for me, is the biggest benefit,’ he says. ‘I’ve met so many interesting people from all walks of life and professions that I would never have met, were it not for Toastmasters. Of course the confidence and the doors that open as a result, is something that cannot be measured. I’d encourage everyone to give it a go.’
The electronic engineer says that Toastmasters is far more than a ‘public speaking club’.
‘I think Robert Frost said it best when he said that half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it!’