Dynamic Leadership Speech – Research & Presenting Level 1.3

Level 1 Evaluation and Feedback – 2

(5-7 Minutes)

Madam President, Mr. Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmaster and Welcome Guests, the following speech is a short summary of events that happened 212 years just off the coast of Dun Laoghaire. 

Standing on the top of the Napoleonic era Seapoint Martello Tower, looking out at the sparkling, unwrinkled sea on a warm and sunny day, conditions were astonishingly different to those commemorated on a mostly ignored blue plaque attached to a wall below me. The events of that grim November day would later lead to the development of Dun Laoghaire Pier. Modern Weather forecasting was not invented until the 1860’s, so in 1807 sailors did not have the ability to find out what conditions they may be facing. 

The early 19th Century was unusually stormy, on the 19th of November 1807, several trooper ships left the Pigeon House Harbour, bound to fight in the Napoleonic War. In particular, the ships, the ‘Prince of Wales’ and the ‘Rochdale’. Out of nowhere, Hurricane force winds blew up with sheets of sleet and snow, so much so that visibility was reduced to zero, an east wind pushed the boats back to shore, but, the stormy conditions and lack of visibility meant that the boats did not know how close they were to shore. The following day the ships were seen in the Bay trying, in vain to get shelter in the Harbour. In the evening the ships fired gun indicating distress, to no avail. Captain Jones who escaped from the Prince of Wales described the events thus: “Having arrived opposite Bray Head the sea began to swell and the wind blow a hurricane. He threw all his anchors out but the ship dragged them all along impetuously. She drove without a rag of sail towards Dunleary Point and he expected to be dashed against the rocks there. He repeatedly told the officers of the danger before she struck about 6 or 7 in the evening”. Most of the ships that left our coast that day were decimated along the coast between South Bull to Bray, the ‘Lark’ was the only one that safely made it to Holyhead.Both Rochdale and Prince of Wales were lost off the coast of Dun Laoghaire / Salthill within hours of each other. 

The Prince of Wales, captained by Robert Jones had military personnel aboard along with recruits from the South Cork and South Mayo regiments of militia. During the storm Captain Jones dropped anchor, but, the storm dragged the ship along. Only the captain, nine seamen, two women with children and two soldiers managed to escape on the one launched lifeboat. They did not know where they were, or how close they were to the shore. They rowed parallel to the shore until one of the sailors fell overboard and found that he was standing in shallow water. 120 soldiers drowned and it was claimed that the captain locked the troops below deck, removing the ladder and battening down the hatch and in doing so sealing the faith of those trapped beneath, but Mr Moss, the coroner lead a party of four gentlemen to visit the wreck site and ascertained that there was no substance in the story. Captain Robert was brought before the court on murder charges but case was dismissed due to lack of evidence. Captain Jones said that the lifeboat was not launched; rather, it was cast into the sea by the storm, so he ordered those on deck to get into it. Anthony McIntyre of the 18th Royal Irish said that the captain launched the lifeboat and that the ladder from the hold to the deck was withdrawn. Andrew Boyle, also of the 18th Royal Irish, said that the ladder was not removed because “persons below held on to it very tightly”. The verdict was “Casual death by shipwreck”. 

The Rochdale and her passengers from the staff of the 97th Regiment were under the control of Captain Hodgson, the soldiers on board tried to attract the attention of the shore by firing their muskets, the number of shots been so many that would-be rescuers had to shelter from the gunfire. However, it was pointless and those that saw the fires could only look on in horror as the ship struck the rocks at Seapoint Martello Tower. It was observed that no pilot could have steered her alongside the Martello as neatly as she lay. On shore cries of the terrified passengers could be heard. The boat was so close to shore that the cries of terrified passengers could be heard by witnesses and a twelve-foot plank would have rescued them, but all 265 on board were lost. 

Even though troops were put on guard, there was looting of the ships and of the immense number of items that washed ashore and they could not stop one of the looters from Dun Laoghaire from drowning. There were so many souls lost (nearly 400) that the whole weekend was spent in collecting the bodies for burial. Six people were convicted and sent to Kilmainham Gaol for plundering bodies and property. At no point during these dramatic events were the lifeboats from Clontarf, Bullock, Howth, Dún Laoghaire and Islandbridge launched to try and rescue lives endangered during these terrible events. Most of those who perished are interred in Carrickbrennan Churchyard in Monkstown, the rest are interred in a Cemetery in Booterstown.

Prior to the harbour as we know been built, Dublin Port had a sandbar that meant that ships could only enter or leave at high tide. If there was a storm the ship would have to stay out at sea waiting for the tide to change. Captain Charles Malcolm of George 4ths Royal Yacht suggested that “Dublin Bay had perhaps been more fatal to seamen and ships than any in the world”. This can be vouched by the fact that the remains of more than 600 vessels are sitting at the bottom of the bay. The person chiefly responsible for the campaign to build a harbour in Dun Laoghaire was a master mariner and shipbroker named Richard Toucher, who worked tirelessly campaigning to bring about the construction of a safe port. In 1815, after the sinking’s of both the Rochdale and the Prince of Wales, eight Harbour Commissioners were appointed to supervise the building of a new harbour at Dún Laoghaire. Construction of the Pier started in 1817 and was completed in 1840’s.

Madam President, Mr Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmaster and welcome guests, thank you for listening to this short history of the dual sinking’s of the Rochdale and Prince of Wales ships. 

Road Space Rationing Debate

3-5 minutes
Proposer (me)  – 3-5 minutes
Opposer – 3-5 minutes
Audience – 5 minutes
Proposer/Opposer 1-2 minutes rebuttal and summarise points

Road Space Rationing is also known as alternate-day travel, driving restriction, and no-drive days. Road Space Rationing is a travel demand management strategy that is aimed at trying to reduce urban air pollution and/or peak urban traffic, in some countries they use it to reduce oil use, it does this through restricting car travel by controlling which vehicles are allowed into city centres and rush hour. It can be done by either restricting traffic access into the area by either using the last digits of the license number on pre-established days and during certain periods, usually, the peak hours, this has been used as early as 1982 in Athens.

This policy is commonly used in Latin America, mainly to try and reduce air pollution in places like Mexico City and  Santiago, Chile. Sao Paulo, more than 6 million vehicles, is the largest metropolis in the world with such a travel restriction, implemented first in 1996 as measured to mitigate air pollution, and made permanent in 1997 to relieve traffic congestion. More recent implementations in Costa Rica  and Honduras have had the objective of reducing oil consumption, due to the high impact this import has on the economy of small countries, and considering the steep increases in oil prices that began in 2003. 

After a temporary implementation of road space rationing to reduce air pollution in Beijing  during the 2008 Summer Olympics, local officials put in place several permanent rationing schemes to improve the city’s air quality. As of June 2016, another 11 Chinese cities have similar restriction schemes in place. Also, temporary driving restrictions to reduce cars on the streets by half during severe pollution events have been implemented in Paris and surrounding suburbs in March 2014, March 2015, and December 2016; in Beijing twice in December 2015, and one more time in December 2016; and also in Rome and Milan  for several days in December 2015. A similar alternate-day travel temporary scheme was implemented in New Delhi  as a two-week trial in January 2016. A temporary ban on diesel cars was implemented in Oslo  on municipal roads in January 2017.

In 2010 there were 1.015 Billion road motor vehicles in the world, not including off-road vehicles or heavy construction equipment. 

In 45 B.C. Julius Caesar declared the center of Rome off-limits between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. to all vehicles except for carriages transporting priests, officials, visitors, and high-ranking citizens, as congestion was a huge problem in Rome as well as other Roman cities. 

Schemes rationing access based on number plate have mixed results. If used infrequently or temporarily the alternate-day travel policy can have some impact. However, if used as a long term measure, inequality issues might arise, as wealthier people can afford to own two cars with opposite-parity number plates, to circumvent any restrictions, with the second vehicle being often older and therefore more polluting. Cities such as Tehran which have used such schemes are now looking to more sustainable methods of traffic and emissions control,  such as low emission zone or traffic limited zones as used in Europe.  Access regulations have often been found to be effective, in reducing congestion, traffic and pollution.

Road space rationing based on license numbers has been implemented in cities such as Athens, Santiago, Mexico City, Metro Manila, Sao Paulo, Bogota, Colombia, La Paz, San Jose,  countrywide in Honduras and Ecuador. All these cities restrain a percentage of vehicles every weekday during rush hours or for the entire day. When the restriction is based in two digits a theoretical 20% reduction of traffic is expected. Cities with serious air quality problems, such as Mexico City and Santiago use more digits to achieve greater reductions in air pollution, and even the prohibition can be for more than one day a week. In 2009, Bogota, Columbia, the plate restriction was extended from peak periods to the whole day (from 06:00 to 20:00 hours) in the whole city.

In 2005, the Mayor of Paris, proposed to impose a complete ban on motor vehicles in the city’s inner districts, with exemptions only for residents, businesses, and the disabled, as a three-part plan to implement during a seven-year period. Is this a reasonable approach?

Dublin (1.8 Million) is the worlds 14th most congested city and Europe’s 6th most congested, behind Moscow (12.412 Million) Istanbul (14.968 Million), Bucharest (1.812,290 Million), Saint Petersburg (5.427 Million) and Kiev (2.887.974). It is also the slowest city in Europe with  speeds in the city centre dropping to as low as 6kmph, and drivers spending around 246 hours in traffic in 2018. Most of the cities that had the worst congestion are old cities, that were not designed for this volume of vehicles. Yes, Dublin has taken certain trucks out of the city centre is encouraging people to walk, cycle, take public transport.

Electric cars could be allowed in to the city with no restrictions applied, this could help with the pollution element, but not the congestion problem. 

People have worked around road space rationing by have more than one car, what would happen if they rationed the cars on the base of the Pantone colour matching system. Only vehicles in the blue spectrum are allowed in on Mondays, Red on Tuesdays etc. People would not buy a full spectrum of cars to make sure that they could drive in to the city every days. Black and white cars could drive on Sundays, to be kind to the eyes and minds of hungover people.

Could or Should Dublin adopt this system? 


One of the elements of Toastmasters that is designed to help you improve your public speaking, is feedback. Every speech you make, or role you fulfil gets evaluated by other Club Members (don’t worry, it’s not scary), the feedback listed below are comments that I received after my first two speeches in our Club. The idea is that the Member will pick out a couple of these and work on them in upcoming speeches.

Areas I need to improve upon:

  • Crutch word reduction
  • Work on messaging
  • Too many stats
  • Slow down
  • Don’t apologise
  • Work on conclusion
  • Do not use notes
  • Look up
  • Make eye contact
  • Don’t stand behind the podium
  • Have confidence in my skills
  • Count to 10 before I start
  • Do not use the word ‘Handy’
  • Ease up on details
  • Better finish needed
  • Keep eyes open
  • Move around stage
  • Emphasise fewer stats
  • Don’t be hard on yourself
  • Be more confident
  • Improve vocal variety
  • Improve gestures
  • Apply feedback
  • Pick four things to focus on “Less is more”

Listening Post

Another role in Toastmasters is that of the Listening Post, the aim of the role of listening post is to listen to all the evenings speakers and then test how well members have been listening during the meeting. It is also to help all members with their listening skills. When it is your turn to be introduced to the audience, take 2 minutes to explain the role to the gathered members.

During meeting:
Listen for facts, quotes and listening points.
Turn these into 8-10 questions and answers
Keep notes as meeting goes on

End of Meeting:
Stand at lectern
Present your questions to the audience to test their listening skills
Mix them up, don’t do them in chronological order

Start easy and get harder
Try true/false format
Split into two team’s right vs left or girls vs boys

Try to be amusing

Reporting time: 2-3 Minutes

Dynamic Leadership – Icebreaker Speech 1.1

Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, this evening I take my first step with you on the Toastmasters Pathway. Mr. President, Madam Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and welcome guests.

Hello, my name is Emily and I am a photographer. Out of all the speeches we need to make as Toastmasters, this one is probably going to be the most personally challenging for me as I really hate talking about myself, I find it to be one of the most awkward and unnatural things to do, and I am far more comfortable chatting about literally anything else. By a show of hands, have you have ever felt nervous about speaking in public? It’s good to know I am not alone, Thank you. When I was six years old, my wonderful Grandmother, with whom I grew up, gave me my first camera to encourage me to leave everybody else’s alone, up until then, if I saw a camera I would pick it up and use it, or at least I tried to. Since that day cameras, both stills and video, have been my friend and my shield. My friend, as they are a constant companion and help me record all life’s adventures, through School, University, Work and beyond. My shield, because any time things became problematic, I would dive behind the viewfinder and limit my vision of the world to only what I could see through that small window. I could just focus on what I was looking at, distancing myself from whatever trouble was rumbling and by the time I was finished, hopefully, whatever drama had exploded would have either died down or moved on enough for me pop my head up again.

I have a skill for making a complete eejit of myself, fortunately, there were no cameras around to catch me one night in school during prep, when I walked across the floor of the library and back to my desk with my kilt stuck in the back of my tights! Thankfully, a friend let me know before I repeated my mistake. Or when I walked smack into a floor to ceiling window, reversed, and having not changed my course at all walked straight back into it, missing the door I was trying to walk out of by centimetres, much to everyone’s in the hotel bar’s amusement. You will be surprised to hear that no drink was involved at all that day! On another occasion, I had just completed my first round in an equestrian cross country, when having passed through the flags at the finishing line, slid off the horse into a big muddy puddle, leading the commentator to announce my “interesting finishing style” over the PA system and my teammate to look at me on the ground and ask, “what are you doing down there?”. To which I replied, “lying down”.

As Albert Einstein once said “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious” I too am a curious soul, who enjoys trying to improve themselves and learning new things. The most recent manifestation of this curiosity, is my attempt to learn how to play the guitar. My progress so far is that it now sounds more like a guitar and less like random noise, but, I am a long way away from it sounding like music. My cameras have once again been pressed into action, for me to have a record of hopefully any improvements in my skills, as they have in the past with various sports I have taken part in, including the half marathon I ran a few years ago.

One of my favourite quotes is “Not all those that wander are lost” by J.R.R Tolkien. It always reminds me that just because you take a more circuitous route in life, it does not prevent you from achieving your goals, it might just take a little bit longer to do so. It also makes me think that even when you are feeling down, you are not far from where you want to be. This is a useful thing for me to remember because, if there is a simple way and a complicated way to do something, I usually end up doing it the complicated way. Several years ago, I attended a Windsurfing Festival in Malahide. You may or may not be aware that there are two ways to get onto a windsurfer, the simple way is to mount it from the beach, or, the more difficult way is to get on it whiles in the sea. Unsurprisingly, I could only get on to the board whiles in the sea.

My cameras have brought me many opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. I have met famous people, photographed dogs for a dog rescue calendar, Weddings, prize winning gardens, captured people’s heroics on the sports field and many other situations. I was part of a team of Irish Twitter users that released a Christmas No. 1 a few years ago, in aid of the Neonatal Special Care Unit in Holles Street, it was a cover of ‘Winter Song’ written by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. Sara kindly gave us permission to use it. The same team of Twitter users charted the next year, with a different song, but, we didn’t get near reaching No.1 again. If you had the misfortune to hear me sing, you would know that this was the only way I could ever reach No.1!

Thank you for your time and for listening to me, I will close with a quote.

Life is like a camera. Focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, take another shot.”

Thank you Mr. President, Madam Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and welcome guests.

Daily Writing Challenge

I found another writing challenge to take part in, I am late to this challenge, but I have been assured that it is ok to join in now. The link is below, should you wish to try it, it comes from a blog called Johawkthewriter. The idea behind this is to write every day and the next day you post your word count on the JoHawkerTheWriter post. I think that this will be fun. It is also recommended on the site that you start with short stories, just to get you into the habit of writing.

30 Day Writing Challenge #1

Alex despised being late, she really did, it was nearly a pathological loathing. This is why, if she had her way, she would always be anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour early for things, as she would much rather sit in a cafe or her car down the road from where she needed to be, rather than rushing around, stressed out and inevitably making mistakes and forgetting things, all because she was late. She had friends that were the exact opposite of her and only arrived at a meeting place an hour or more after the arranged time, which drove Alex crazy.

However, today was one of those rare days when she was running late or at least her version of being late, that is to say, Alex may arrive at the train station on time and not early, which was utterly unacceptable. The reason for this panic was that she had to get the last train home, and if she missed it because it left on time or early, she would have to stay where she was overnight. Alex lived in Dublin but had taken the train to Kerry for the day, and she really did not want to miss that train. As she ran up the road towards the train station with her camera bag hitting her back, she wondered why did it seem like a good idea to stop and take photos of the stunning view. Alex wished she did not have to rush as it was a beautiful summers evening, but, she had to get home. She must have startled some of the other travellers as she finally burst through the train station doors, huffing and puffing, because, they all turned to look at the red-faced apparition crashing into the station house. Rummaging for her ticket and muttering to herself, Alex went through onto the platform to see the welcome sight of the last train waiting to load its passengers. Alex got into the queue boarding the train with her fellow passengers and eventually sat down, thankful that she had got to the train on time.

The train pulled out of the station on the way to Limerick Junction, before the connecting train brought people back to Dublin, Alex had enjoyed her day in Kerry and promised to visit again, as Kerry was an amazing place.

Guitar Lesson #5

The piece of music I am trying to learn at the moment is finally starting to sound as it should. John is a great teacher and is very patient with me. It is a lot of fun and I am enjoying it. There will be no class next week due to School Mid-Term break. This means I have two weeks to nail this piece down and surprise John when I go to the next class.

Three Things Challenge – February Story

MAUD Maud loved Summer, and she really loved when the weather was pleasant enough for the BBQ to come out from its dusty hiding place in the shed. She also enjoyed days like today where she was being super productive all day. However, her enthusiasm was waning as the gadget she had bought that was meant to make getting your BBQ Summer ready was a lot less helpful than she thought and it took far more time than the usual system of cleaning it. Her mind wandered to her most recent trip to Asia, where when she was wandering through the grim exhibits in this little museum, far from home her attention was drawn to a small card in a glass case. It read: “These dominoes are made from the bones of the victims of a campaign of mass murder.” Every item in this museum was connected to the death of innocent people, who were just trying to live their lives in the surrounding jungle. Power and greed had a lot to answer for in this world. Then Mauds mind clicked into a stream of memories from her time in Japan and Australia.

Maud’s Japenese friend, Kaori tried to educate her about Japanese culture. This culminated in an incredibly clumsy and ungraceful attempt in learning some traditional dance moves by the group of friends, the upside was that Kaori and Aya found it hilarious.

As Maud sat on deck waiting for her turn to dive back into the sea to join the other scuba divers, a tentacle of memories brought her back to almost the very same location five years earlier. Things had changed a lot since then, it was almost like thinking about someone else’s story. Her daydream was broken when she heard her name called and she slid backwards into the cool waves of the salty water. Maud realised that the salt water she could taste on her lips was in fact, not the sea, but her own tears. Then she remembered that dramatic and disappointing evening.

Maud was hiding in her car in the furthest corner of the carpark, thankful that it was getting dark, as it meant no one would see her there, on her own, in her car, with the lights off, trying and failing not to cry. They had a massive argument a couple of hours ago, the relationship ending type of an argument. The reason was simple and stupidly cliche, Maud discovered that Billy had been having an affair with her lifelong best friend. Maud had been at her best friends house, singing her now ex-boyfriends praises when she saw his silver-bullet necklace peeping out from under the duvet on her friend’s bed. When her friend saw what Maud was looking at, she said that Billy had been there helping her by chasing a mouse, his necklace must have fallen off without him noticing. Maud pretended to believe her now former friend, kept calm, left and went home to talk to Billy. When Maud asked Billy about the necklace, he lost his temper and accused her of many awful things, including suggesting that she was accusing him and her friend of having an affair and called her all sorts of insulting names. Maud stood watching this stranger before her who up until that moment she thought she knew, and asked a simple question: is it true? Billy paused, went purple, picked up a glass and smashed it against the wall. As Billy pulled himself up to his full height and snorting like a bull, Maud, quietly asked him to go out for a few hours, so that she could pack up her stuff and move out. Billy swallowed, snatched his phone, wallet and keys off the table and marched out of the house, throwing some more insults over his shoulder at Maud as his left. As the door slammed shut, Maud was on her knees picking up the shattered shards of the destroyed glass, thinking to herself that she would now need to pick up the shards of her own life, which like the glass was now irretrievably changed. The apartment was one that Billy had rented before they moved in together, so she knew she would be the one to leave. Maud tried not to think about what Billy and her former friend may have been doing there when she was away on business trips. Her mind kept flashing back to how well Billy and ‘HER’ used to get on, the in-jokes, the hugs, all of it. Maud, at the time, had thought that she was incredibly lucky that her bff and her boyfriend had gotten on so well, as it would make life easier for all concerned if there was no animosity between Billy and ‘HER’. Maud couldn’t even think her former friends’ name at the moment. The betrayal was washing over in tsunami like waves of heartbreak. Thankfully, Maud managed to get her belongings packed and into her car quickly. Maud knew what had happened was a fact, but, she still wanted to believe that she was wrong, that Billy and ‘HER’ had not hurt her like that, that is why she was hiding and watching the door of the building. As she had expected, Billy and ‘HER’ arrived back to the building Maud had so recently moved out of, hand in hand and laughing. Maud knew she needed to see this, she needed more proof that she was a fool. This was the confirmation that Maud didn’t want, but knew she needed. When the door closed behind the two traitors, Maud put her car in gear, peered through boxes of her belongings that were reflected in her rearview mirror, and drove away from the two people outside of her family who meant the most to her in the world. Maud wondered would she be able to reapply for the job transfer that she turned down, and more pressingly, where would she go to now? Normally, she would have gone to her friend’s house, this was no longer ever going to be an option again. As she considered her next step, she deleted all contact details of Billy and ‘HER’ from her phone. If they were not on the phone, they did not exist.

A.B. Sitting in the canteen at work, the waves of different languages and use of language crashed across A.B’s turbulent mind. Though A.B. was pleased to work in a large multinational company as she was able to work with and make friends with people from all over the world and the options for travel were a bonus too. Today, however, she was finding the noise barely tolerable, as she was obsessing about how many times her boyfriend Billy kept accidently calling her by his ex-girlfriends name Maud. Maud and A.B. had not spoken since the day A.B. and Billy had moved in together, which also happened to be the day that Maud had moved out of Billy’s apartment. A.B. didn’t really see what the problem was with Maud, other than the manner in which Maud had found out about Billy and A.B., but, A.b. thought these things happen. Maud was just been overly dramatic, as usual.

MABEL Mabel held on to the laundry line feeling incredibly shaky and ill, her heart was racing and her brain felt woolly. It was at times like this she wished she was someone’s mother or nana, as she wanted someone to call out to, someone to look after her, someone to worry about her, or as the case may be, someone to miss her. Sadly, there would be no one to reminisce about the lovely, silly, crazy things that Mabel did for them. Mabel had no siblings or children, she came close to marriage once, but in the end, she got cold feet and didn’t go through with it. Mabel sometimes saw her former fiance on tv, he was quite famous these days, he was called the peoples Grandad. Mabel knew that the best she could hope for was that the neighbour might become curious as to her lack of activities and might call emergency services. The reality was that her body probably wouldn’t be found for weeks.

As the birds soared and swooped in the sky calling to each other, Mabel slid to the ground, looking up to the sky, thankful that at least her final moments were sunny and warm as opposed to her arrival on earth during the worst storm for years.

MAY May had been enjoying rocking in her rocking chair, as she waited for her roast beef to cook. She just wished that the view was more Sylvian and less traffic and roundabout. Oh well, you can’t have everything. May glanced at the clock on the wall and suddenly realised that she was about to be late, so May started rushing around and ran out of her house, this is how she slipped on the black ice falling forwards putting her hands out to try and protect herself. As May picked herself up from the ground, she noticed that her spectacles had fallen down a drain and that her hands were bloody from the impact with the frozen ground. Oh great, thought May, now I will be even more late for Court.

MAUD, BILLY, A.B. Two friends, Maud and Billy shuffling around together on the platform of the local station were waiting for another person, A.B to join them, A.B was late, as always and there had been no text message or phone call to say sorry and no excuse had been given. After a long while, the two friends wandered off together, muttering and grumbling about their missing companion, A.B.

CANDY Candy thought if only she had been as efficient in everything else in life as she was at drinking Gin, maybe she would not be sitting by herself beside the river, wondering did anybody remember her.