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 issues Narrative 4 Ireland address are bullying, isolation & poor mental health among Irish youth.


Antisocial behaviour, reported increases in racist attacks, the rise of online hate & bullying and other forms of discrimination and division are major threats to our society. We want to change this narrative and give young people tools to feel connected and heard.

This programme is designed to help young people become more competent at understanding the feelings of others - and thus their own - and it has been proven to reduce levels of aggression and bullying among youth.

Storytelling building resilience  

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 overcome major life challenges.

“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

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The solution

Our solution is to teach empathy skills to youth by harnessing the power of stories to break down division and understand differences.


Research tells us that our capacity for empathy can be increased through evidence-based interventions. Teaching empathy is one of the key elements in young people developing into successful tolerant adults. As outlined in UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World

Empathy Skills

Empathy, our ability to understand how another person is feeling, is increasingly seen as a key 21st century skill. The OECD has said that empathy is a core skill that schools across Europe need to teach:

"social and emotional skills, such as empathy, self-awareness, respect for others and the ability to communicate, are becoming essential as classrooms and workplaces become more ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse" 

OECD Learning Skills.

The Training

We train secondary school teachers and youth workers to facilitate to deliver evidence-based education programmes that teach empathy and listening skills.

Over 4 online modules (8 hours), teachers/ youth workers learn how to facilitate the Narrative 4 Story Exchange. 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.

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

Michael T. McRay

Facilitator Trainer

_ 00001 Sheila

Sheila Richardson

Narrative 4 facilitator and Mentor

Our Funders