About N4 Ireland

Narrative 4 Ireland was established in 2016 and is a registered Irish charity. We have licenced the Story Exchange programme from the US based Narrative 4 Inc., which was founded by writers & educators in 2012.

We believe stories have an innate power to create empathy in society. Stories can shatter stereotypes and break down barriers and end hate and prejudices.

From our work within the community we know the shortest distance between two people is a story.

The Narrative 4 empathy education units are an evidence based methodology, which teaches young people social and emotional skills and improves wellbeing.

This programme based on the principles of circle work has been proven to increase wellbeing in the classroom and address issues around bullying and poor youth mental health. We equip educators with the tools to bring empathy education techniques into their work.

Join a community of educators across Ireland who believe in the transformative power of instilling empathy skills in youth.

Kinloch-RT-About N4 _The problem_

The issue

The issue Narrative 4 Ireland addresses is poor youth mental health.

Our plugged-in, high pressure culture is having an effect on young Irish people.  The My World Survey found that 1 in 3 young Irish people suffer from anxiety and depression and 1 in 4 suffer from stress.

The findings show positive relationships are inextricably linked to young people’s mental health.

Educators need more preventive tools to support our young people’s needs. Creating a space for young people to connect addresses isolation and allows them to talk to their peers in a kind resilient facilitated space. Our empathy education programmes are based on connecting young people through dialogue and storytelling.

In their guidelines for schools reopening in September 2020, the National Educational Psychology Service (NEPS) also highlighted the transformative power of stories in helping young people acclimatise after Covid-19:

“Stories can shape our future with research showing that telling stories of struggles that turn out well can give people the hope they need to live productive lives in the aftermath of major life challenges”.

‘Supporting the Wellbeing of the School Community: Returning to School after Covid-19 School Closure’, Dublin: National Educational Psychological Services. Department of Education


The solution

Our solution is to create a culture of care and empathy among young people.

We train secondary school teachers and youth workers to facilitate the evidence based empathy education Programmes . The training equips educators with more tools to empower young people with wellbeing strategies for the 21st century.

Over 4 online modules, teachers/ youth workers learn how to implement the Story Exchange unit. This is an innovative educator led circle-based model that can be used in any classroom/ youth group in person or online.  It increases peer support and instills a sense of resilience and belonging by reducing feelings of isolation.

Getting young people to share personal stories is a cathartic experience which breaks down barriers, builds trust and reinforces the idea that they are not alone. To date over 300 secondary school teachers and youth workers have completed the training and joined our community. 

This programme fulfils six of the criteria of the new Junior Cycle: Managing Myself, Staying Well, Communicating, Being Creative, Working with Others, and Managing Information and Thinking.

Scientific Evidence

“The students at the N4 Schools experienced all positive emotions more frequently than the national sample. [...] The feelings fear, discouraged, hopeless, and sad were less frequent at the N4 Schools than in the national sample, with differences of more than five percentage points between both samples. [...]

The experience that bullying at school was also rare (less than 35.0% of the time at N4 Schools)”

EMOTIONAL REVOLUTION: Empowering Young People to create schools and communites where emotions matter; How do US High School students feel at School?

–The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, August 2016

Donncha O Treasaigh

“I saw a transformation of attitudes amongst the teenagers. They demonstrated a greater awareness of their own feelings. The Story Exchange opened up an undetected skillset”  
Donncha O Treasaigh, Director of Schools at Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board / Former principal of Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh.

Our Team

Dr. James Lawlor, Regional Director, Ireland

Dr. James Lawlor

Regional Director, Ireland

Rachel Guinane

Rachel Gleeson

Programme Officer

Ann Blake

Ann Blake

Facilitator Trainer


Michael T. McRay

Facilitator Trainer

_ 00001 Sheila

Sheila Richardson

Narrative 4 facilitator and Mentor

Our Funders