Narrative 4: Stories of empathy and understanding

Nigel Dugdale


Nigel Dugdale

Narrative 4: Stories of empathy and understanding

Co-founder Colum McCann has won the support of many leading lights of the cultural world for Narrative 4, which is coming to Limerick

SARAH Little has been involved with Narrative 4, the global arts-education organisation, for three years. Looking back on her life she is honest in saying that she doesn’t like the old her.  

“I’m not saying I’m perfect now”, she says. 

“But I will stand up for what I believe in and most importantly now I know what kind of a person I want to be. 

“The old me was extremely narrow minded and selfish. I cared for myself basically and only worried about things that affected me. Narrative 4 helped me to help myself and become the positive, life loving person I am today”.

Narrative 4 is backed by some of the leading lights of the international cultural world, and is to set up its first base outside the US in Limerick city centre.

The organisation, which was co-founded by Irish author Colum McCann and Lisa Consiglio and “dozens of other artists from around the world”, promotes social change through storytelling.

Sarah didn’t just stumble upon Narrative 4 one day - “It was more or less handed to me on a silver platter,” she says.

“All I had to do was jump at this once in a lifetime opportunity. It was brought into my school when I was in fifth year, I loved the sound of it all so I got involved. Honestly, I did not have one clue about the organisation or how big it would be.

“But I did know from the beginning that it was something special and that I had been given this chance for a reason. 

“Spreading empathy is possibly the most human thing to do, we can learn to care for everyone and become more aware of others feelings without them even telling us.”

Sarah says Narrative 4 challenged her in many ways and still challenges her to broaden her outlook on life and how she interacts with people.

“It is an enjoyable challenge  I love to encounter now but at the start it was very difficult to overcome. 

The 17-year-old me was such a closed book, I couldn’t speak to anyone and I just accepted that that was the way I was. 

“When I compare myself from now to then I can say I’m a completely changed person I now know the value in expressing my feelings but unfortunately I found out the hard way.”

Not one day goes by that Sarah is not thankful for the opportunities that N4 has given her. 

From meeting such a diverse group of people at the summits and hearing many emotional stories she says she is grateful for the life she has.

“I can’t really pinpoint one major learning experience from it all but to say I have gotten stronger sense of self is an understatement. I am who I want to be and I will not force myself to conform to anyone’s expirations of myself. I am nicer to myself which is an uncommon thing in my age group.

We are so hard on ourselves and expect so much that when we actually do good we still do not congratulate ourselves. This needs to change.  

“Narrative 4 can make that change. This organisation is not only a green house for youth to blossom but it also allows room for mistakes, this is what has inspired me and thought me to be positive even in the darkest of hours and why I speak so proudly of my Narrative 4 family.”

The global headquarters of Narrative 4 in Limerick will be officially launched in Limerick later this month.


Share your old images of Limerick

THERE seems to be no stopping the fascination we have with the past, particularly when it comes to photographs that document our recent past. 

The Limerick Leader particularly has been impressive with the work done to republish old images from archives, many of which were seen in the beautiful publication still available in local bookshop, Limerick Through The Lens.

The availability of social media channels has greatly aided the sharing of such imagery and in one particular Limerick case it has inspired the creation of an entire Facebook page. Over 5,000 images of life in the city and county over the past 100 years have been been published on the Limerick History Gazette Facebook page forming a fascinating online gallery.

The project allows those interested to share their own personal collections of imagery. 

The collection highlights how much our city and our lives have changed over the years but also shows how the inherent community spirit of the people of Limerick has remained steadfast.


Local values strike a chord

I RECENTLY met Ana Hugo Gomes from Lisbon in Portugal. Having studied computer engineering and then a degree in hospitality and tourism it was a random encounter with a Galway colleague that put her on the road to Limerick.

 “I love living in Limerick”, she says. “The values of the people are so similar to what I see at home. If you find yourself in any difficulty the people are always ready to help. The people of Limerick make you feel at home.

“We live in Murroe but Limerick is our city. The city centre has everything. I come from the capital of Portugal and wasn’t expecting Limerick to have so much.

For Ana it is the diversity of Limerick has been the most surprising thing about the city. “I was also blown away by how quick the services work here also - getting my PPS and my bank details was such an easy experience. The humanity of the people and the helpfulness of the people of Limerick is a huge selling point to me.”