Galway, we need 1000 broken umbrellas!


Umbrella Orphanage is part of Hope it Rains | Soineann nó Doineann, a project for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture which aims to turn our bad weather to good use, to make Galway the place to be because it rains and blows. What more of a symbol of Galway’s weather is there than a broken umbrella?

Our weather creates mountains of waste in the form of battered, torn and broken brollies. Every gale leaves a trail strewn across pavements, parks and stuffed into litter bins. Artist Jeni Roddy is asking the public to help her rescue 1000 of these lost and abandoned broken umbrellas.

Jeni explains that “together with the public, we will deconstruct and repurpose them – creating new uses for old parts, and recycling what remains into new nomadic canopies that will sprout up in 2020 to provide shelter during downpours.

Over one recent stormy weekend alone we collected nearly 100 umbrellas, which would otherwise have gone to landfill.”

You can donate an umbrella at the distinctive Umbrella Orphanage collector bins in Galway city.  Hand-crafted from donated election posters and materials salvaged from Electric Picnic tents, these receptacles express the Umbrella Orphanage values of minding, cherishing and re-invigorating discarded materials to create something new.

You will find collector bins at Galway2020’s Merchant Road premises, Mocha Beans Café in Salthill, Galway City Centre Library on Augustine Street and the Galway Christmas Market, and you can find other donation points at

 “As a very real issue in society Galway 2020 is delighted that projects such as Hope it Rains are shining a light on the issue of environmental protection and sustainability.  The Umbrella Orphanage is a really innovative concept and we’re excited to follow the journey.” a spokesperson for Galway 2020 said.

You can follow the story of your donated umbrellas journey from discarded junk to its new repurposed incarnation online at  Simply tag the brolly at the collector bin, hold on to your half of the tag and you can trace its odyssey on the online gallery as it is dismantled, given a new purpose and presented in a transformed state.

To join in the umbrellas’ evolution, book a place on the Umbrella Orphanage deconstruction & design workshops in February and April at .


Turning our bad weather to good use, HOPE IT RAINS | SOINEANN NÓ DOINEANN aims to make Galway the place to be because it rains and blows! Using the principles of Play-Change-Exchange, we want to effect a cultural change in our relationship with weather, making it a source of creativity and communality, and Galway’s people and places more weather-proof and climate resilient.

We are inviting Galway people of all ages to join up with experts in art, design, sport, and science and become citizen inventors & makers on our multi-disciplinary projects throughout Galway city and county, on renewable energy, weather-proofing, green infrastructure, outdoor play, health and well-being and our unique heritage.

Conceived and directed by Ríonach Ní Néill, HOPE IT RAINS | SOINEANN NÓ DOINEANN is produced by Ciotóg & Milestone Inventive.

HOPE IT RAINS | SOINEANN NÓ DOINEANNis a proudly bilingual programme.

About Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture

Galway will be the European Capital of Culture in 2020.  As one of the largest cultural events in the world, Galway 2020 promises to deliver a year of thrilling, life-enhancing experiences through culture and the arts.  The exciting pan-European programme for the year will see events in unexpected venues and locations throughout the region on the islands, in remote villages, in fields, mountains and on beaches.  From food, music, dance, literature and visual arts to poetry, theatre, sport and largescale spectacle, everyone will get the opportunity to enjoy a fun-filled, once-in-a-lifetime experience. 


For 20 years Jeni Roddy has worked as an interdisciplinary artist and designer in collaborations producing live content through the mediums of theatre, film, live event and performance art. Underpinning her work is an interest in the body’s performative relationship to socially constructed and natural environments.

During her career working as a designer and collaborator, she has been lucky enough to be involved with many committed practitioners who have produced some of the most exciting work in recent years in Ireland. They include dance artists Emma Martin, Lisa McLoughlin, theatre artists Grace Dyas, Dylan Tighe, visual artists Michelle Browne, Fergus Byrne, and theatre designer Jamie Vartan.

Jeni Roddy graduated from the London College of Fashion in 2008 with a first class degree in Costume for the Performing Arts. She worked for 9 seasons at the Wexford Festival Opera, heading the Costume Department for four of those and has worked on numerous award winning productions including; Silent Night, (Winner Best Opera Production Irish Times Theatre Awards ’14), Cristina Regina de Svezia, (Winner Best Opera Production Irish Times Theatre Awards ’13) and No Worst There is None, (Winner Best Theatre Production Irish Times Theatre Awards ’09).

Jeni currently works at the Wexford Arts Centre developing a teaching practice that combines somatic learning with the development of visual thinking strategies as devices for developing key skills for young practitioners and audiences of the Visual Arts. Together with Ríonach Ní Néill, she is co-lead artist on Weatherproof Me!, part of the Galway 2020 flagship programme Hope it Rains | Soineann nó Doineann.