UMBRELLA ORPHANAGE – a home for broken and bewildered brollies

Free Umbrella Re-cycling workshops 17-21 February

During the week of 17-21 February, artist Jeni Roddy is setting up an Umbrella Orphanage in Galway city centre, where, with the public’s help, she will be re-purposing broken umbrellas and transforming them into functional artworks as street-side rain shelters.

She is inviting people to join in the free umbrella deconstruction & design workshops, of which there are 3 daily sessions to choose from. Participants will learn design and sewing skills, as well as share up-cycling and recycling skills, in a very sociable and caring setting.

 “Rain creates little ad-hoc communities, as people sheltering in doorways and the like strike up conversation while they wait out the downpour.  The umbrella canopies, which will sprout from upright structures around Galway city, draw attention to these moments of sociability and connection.  Using rescued umbrellas, we are minding, cherishing and re-invigorating discarded materials in order to protect and shelter the city’s inhabitants”, explains Jeni.

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?

Ríonach Ní Néill, artistic director of Hope it Rains | Soineann nó Doineann elaborates;

“Galway’s stormy weather leaves a trail of battered, torn and broken brollies strewn across pavements, parks and stuffed into litter bins.  Galwegians have been helping us rescue these lost and abandoned broken umbrellas, and since December they’ve been bringing them into our donation points. We now have over 400, which would otherwise have gone to landfill, but which will now be transformed and given new purpose by Jeni Roddy.”

The erection of the first shelter on Friday 21st will be marked by a series of special performances devised by Jeni and her collaborator Gerry Daly. “Walk with Me” is an intimate promenade performance for two, sheltered under a specially-created double umbrella, and is dedicated to Mark Kennedy’s, a Galway man who dedicated himself to highlighting the need for connection and shelter for those who are without.

Workshops will be held from:

10:00 to 13:00,

13:30 to 16:30

18:00 to 21:00

every day from February 17th to 21st inclusive in Flood St in Galway City Centre. If you are interested in re-cycling, sewing, crafting  – or just want to join in – you can book a free workshop place on the Umbrella Orphanage deconstruction & design workshops People are welcome to join in for one session, a day, or even the whole week.

There are only 5 available places in the “Walk with Me” performance so register your interest by emailing and we will pull names out of a hat to select the participants.

 “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.

Umbrella Orphanage donation points are still open 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 is European Capital of Culture in 2020. As one of the largest cultural events in the world the programme comprises over 1,900 events across 154 projects with local national, European and international artists and cultural organisations. From theatre, music and sport, to poetry, film, visual art and much more Galway 2020 promises to deliver a year of thrilling, life-enhancing experiences through culture and the arts.  The ambitious programme takes place across the villages, towns, islands and the city of Galway, and in recognition of Ireland’s historic traditions, is based around the four fire seasons of Ireland’s ancient Celtic calendar; Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasa and Samhain.

About Jeni Roddy

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 is co-lead artist on Weatherproof Me!, part of the Galway 2020 flagship programme Hope it Rains | Soineann nó Doineann.