Meet Ireland’s foremost Coca-Cola memorabilia collector

Lillian O'Donoghue has turned her home into a shrine for all things Coca-Cola.
Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

19.03 24 Jun 2024

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Meet Ireland’s foremost Coca-C...

Meet Ireland’s foremost Coca-Cola memorabilia collector

Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

19.03 24 Jun 2024

Share this article

A County Cork woman’s journey to build Ireland’s largest collection of Coca-Cola-related items began 40 years ago.

Lillian O'Donoghue, then aged 22, opened a can of Coke on a bus from Germany to Austria and thought it was “funny” that she’d drank the can “between two countries”.

It began an interest in collecting items associated with the brand that would span four decades.


She has now turned her home into a shrine for Coca-Cola and opens her doors every year to share her love for the brand with all.

On Moncrieff, the Glanmire woman said her collection started with cans from foreign countries.

“I started going to different places and if our friends or family were going different places they’d bring me back cans,” she said.

“They’d have to be full, and I’d drink them then and decide if it was nice or not because even though it’s all Coke, there’s always a slight taste difference.”

'It was beautiful'

Ms O’Donoghue said the beverage is better in some countries than others.

“In Iceland, I thought it was beautiful and also in France,” she said.

“But I thought the worst tasting one was from Switzerland and I think it could be to do with the water, but I’m not sure.

“There are also differences in design; in some places, they might have had the Olympics on at the time, with a special edition of the can out or aluminium bottles.

“John Paul Gaultier is on one and I have ones with other iconic people on them too, about 21.”

Coca-Cola furniture

Ms O’Donoghue also has themed furniture in her home.

“We had a party last Friday called the ‘chill party,’ because we got a new Coca-Cola fridge,” she said.

“My ex-husband also made a chandelier from bottles of Coke.

“At Christmas, I got a bar made, it’s Coca-Cola, and that’s the only thing I really have in the house; everything else is outside the house.

“I would have different Coca-Cola memorabilia on the walls and stuff too.”


The Coca-Cola enthusiast plans to keep the collection in the family after her death.

“I’ll leave it to the children, I’d say they’ll keep it,” she said.

“I have two boys Patrick and Robin and they’ll have the house to keep for themselves.”

Lillian O’Donoghue previously appeared in the RTE documentary ‘Collectors’ in 2016.

You can listen back here:

Main image: A coca-cola product collection. Image: Minkevicius Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

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Coca-Cola Coke Collection Cork Glanmire Lillian O'Donoghue Memorabilia Moncrieff

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