Lillian O’Donoghue, from Glanmire, Cork, is one of Ireland’s most talked about
How long have you been collecting
I’ve been collecting since August 1984. My friend Aileen and I went on holiday together to Austria, and back then you had to fly into Germany, before getting a bus from the airport. On the bus they were selling cans of Coke, so I bought one and thought how funny it was that I was drinking the same drink between two different countries. From that day on, I decided I would collect different cans of Coke from around the world.
What inspired you to decorate your house with them?
Sixteen years ago my youngest son Robin had
How many items are in your
I’d say about 300 - including bedclothes, a clock, waste bin, salt and pepper shakers, glasses, tins, lots of different cans and even a onesie! When I went to Cape Town in South Africa people were making animals out of used
How did you build your collection? Did friends and family help?
Yes, they have. A friend of mine went to Denmark, and she brought me back three
Are there any rare or limited edition items in your collection?
Brian Quill from
Do you remember your first sip from a glass
It was when I was younger and my father took me to twelve o’clock mass in Cork city. After, we went to the pub to meet his two brother-in-laws, and that was when I had my first sip from a
What’s your favourite item from your collection?
It has to be the sign my husband made out of wood from the shed, which is hanging on the wall in the kitchen. It’s a red board with white letters, and he made it especially for me, including the glass bottle chandeliers. Also, two years ago he gave me a USB stick with all the music from the
What do you like most about the vintage adverts and packaging?
I love everything! I love red, and red and white are the colours of Cork. But even before that I’ve always loved the
What do friends and family think of your
I’m very lucky as my husband never says no! It’s very well put together, so when I invite people over to a party and they go “oh my god”, and think it’s going to look tacky, they end up falling in love with it.
With so many collectibles, how do you keep them clean, safe and tidy?
My mother was a top class cleaner but it never rubbed off on me, so Barry does all the cleaning in the house. Once a year he takes them all down and gives them a clean. It takes a whole day but he’s full of patience – not like me!
Are you a member of the
I'm not yet, but it sounds very interesting and I’d love to go to one of the
Do you have any special Christmas decorations?
Yes, they’re some of my favourites. I have a Santa and Coke tin and it’s beautiful. I also have Christmas tree decorations, and four
Have you tried cooking any
Barry bought me the
Our summer campaign is called Choose Happiness. What makes you happy?
Getting ready for the
Finally, what advice do you have for people interested in collecting?
If they want to do it, go ahead and do it. It’s easy to pick up things now, because you can look online.
- A Gogglebox Christmas: stars reveal their festive plans
- 7 easy ways to spruce up your recycling routine
Coca-ColaCollectors: incredible Christmas displays from around the world
Coca-Cola’s historic love affair with Valentine’s Day
A genius at work: Delony Sledge’s indelible mark on