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Holidays Are Coming – the countdown to Christmas has now officially started as Coca-Cola announces the return of the iconic Christmas Truck Tour. The Coca-Cola Truck Tour will make its first stop in Galway on November 30, with a further seven stops throughout the island of Ireland with its final stop in Dublin on December 15. 

Now in its ninth year Coca-Cola’s Christmas Truck Tour has brought The Original Taste of Christmas to approximately 1.5 million visitors across the country. The hugely popular Truck Tour has racked up serious mileage, travelling the length and breadth of Ireland helping families get into the Christmas spirit.

Visitors will be able to enjoy a can of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Coke or Coca-Cola Original Taste at each stop, and have an exclusive family Christmas photo taken while listening to Christmas carols performed by The Ramparts – an Irish A Cappella barbershop choir, creating magical memories that will last a lifetime. 

This year will see the return of Coca-Cola’s Christmas merchandise cart, where all proceeds will be donated to the Coca-Cola charity partner, St. Vincent de Paul. Also, for the first time, each Truck Tour stop will feature Christmas stalls where two local vendors will have bespoke Coca-Cola Christmas gifts available, along with their own handmade goods for visitors to purchase for friends and family.

To coincide with Coca-Cola’s ‘World Without Waste’ global commitment to collect and recycle a bottle or can for each one sold by the year 2030, Coca-Cola will also donate 10p/ 25c for every can recycled throughout the Truck Tour to St. Vincent de Paul.

Petre Sandru, Country Manager of Coca-Cola Ireland said: “We can’t wait to start spreading the Christmas spirit across the island of Ireland with the return of our iconic truck along with our other Christmas activity. We’re also excited to help support talented local producers to be able to sell their goods at the Truck stops, with the tour bringing a sprinkling of festive magic to consumers. In addition to this, it is important that we also reinforce our commitment to working towards zero waste by promoting recycling and donating to our charity partner”.

Full list of 2019 the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour locations:

Saturday 30th November: Galway Retail Park; 2pm – 8pm

Sunday 1st December: Dublin, Royal Hospital Kilmainham; 2pm – 8pm

Wednesday 4th December: Ballina, Military Barracks; 2pm – 8pm

Saturday 7th December: Belfast, Custom House Square; 2pm – 8pm

Sunday 8th December: Belfast, Custom House Square; 2pm – 8pm

Friday 13th December: Cork, Mahon Point; 2pm – 8pm

Saturday 14th December: Waterford, Winterval; 2pm – 8pm

Sunday 15th December: Dublin, Pavilions Shopping Centre Swords; 2pm – 8pm

Coca-Cola Truck Tour Christmas Stall Vendors

Galway, 30th November

Lorraine Fletcher Art

Carmel’s Candles

Dublin, 1st & 15th December

Nially Pea

Orwell & Browne

Ballina, 4th December

Mary Scanlon O'Hora

Ginni Mill

Belfast, 7th – 8th December

Once Upon a Dandelion

Sam Mercer Design

Cork, 13th December

Raffeen Rustic

Carmel’s Candles

Waterford 14th December

Sarah’s Boutique Candle

Pips Crafts

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Coca-Cola hosted their inaugural Melodic Wood area at All Together Now festival in Waterford, purely to create an atmospheric chill-out zone.

The area centred solely around sustainability and was an immersive experience thanks to the electronic music supplied by rising Irish music duo; Prizm.

Those at the festival who were drinking cans were encouraged to bring them along to be pressed into leaves for the installation, with Coca-Cola commissioning native trees in Waterford alongside Native Woodland Trust.

Coca-Cola has donated €10,300 towards the commissioning of 412 native trees to be planted in Waterford, following the success of the Melodic Wood area and it's hypnotic lights show.

The Native Woodland Trust are Ireland’s only organisation with a sole focus on preserving our ancient woodlands, and it's hard to believe that they're the only ones.

We chatted to Prizm as well as the Native Woodland trust about their time in the Melodic Wood, and the importance of Ireland's forests at this critical time in the planet's environmental history.

Image: Instagram/@we_areprizm

 Prizm are an up and coming electronic duo comprised of Ivan Nicholas and producer Aidan Bond, alumni of the Sound Training College in Temple Bar.

Their intricate knowledge of sound, coupled with their varied instrumental experience leads to standout performances. Their first headline show is set for later this year, and they're scheduled to play a string of festival performances and gigs this year. 

We were dying to ask them about their Melodic Wood gig, which acted as a useful yet artistic recycling hub for festival goers.

The Wood's eight trees were all created from recycled materials, with the area forming part of the Native Woodland Trust's wider World Without Waste initiative. World Without Waste commits to collect and recycle the equivalent of every can or bottle that they sell by 2030.

We quizzed them on everything from their first meeting to their involvement in the environmental project;

  • How do you think your music fuses with nature? 

For the song we wrote for Coca-Cola’s Melodic Wood at All Together Now 2019, part of the request was to incorporate nature sounds, we used wind and rustling trees in the intro of the track, and it worked really nicely. 

  • How did you both meet, and when did you decide to become a duo? 

We were working in the same place and got talking about music and quickly realized we both wrote and produced music. We strangely had the same vision for a project, so it kicked off from there.

Image: Instagram/@we_areprizm
  • What are your thoughts on Ireland’s attitude to sustainability?

It’s going in the right direction, small things like cardboard straws are a good start but it’s obviously a global problem, you have to start somewhere at the same time. 

  • Why are you named ‘Prizm’?”

In optics, a prism is a transparent optical element with flat, polished surfaces that refract light. At least two of the flat surfaces must have an angle between them. “ We are part of the two… it made sense for us musically and we just both totally agreed on the name.

  • How did you become involved with the Melodic Wood and All Together Now?

We put our song forward and Coca-Cola loved it. 

  • How do you think Ireland’s music scene can become more eco-friendly and sustainable?

Taking home your tents and cleaning up after yourself is simple and makes a huge difference.

  • Do you think music has the power to encourage people to focus on climate breakdown and the environment? 

No, people have the power.

  • What are your hopes for the future of your music? 

We want to release our debut song and work towards an album. Our live show is very important to us, we want to be a touring band. 

  • What would be your dream gig to play? 

Closing out a big festival. Our shows will have all the right ingredients to bring you back to life.

Image: Instagram/@we_areprizm

Prizm seem like the ideal artists to have played the Melodic Wood, as All Together Now have been an eco-focused festival from the beginning.

The band too share an interest in reducing their carbon footprint, and we were intrigued to hear what the Native Woodland Trust had to say about the installation.

The Native Woodland Trust is the only environmental organisation in Ireland with a focus on saving the last of Ireland's Ancient Woodlands, now down to as little as 0.1 percent of what originally existed.

The Trust is also the only Irish environmental organisation which has raised the funding to acquire and save some of these woodlands while also planting thousands of trees every year. The Trust now manages 11 woodlands and nature reserves across Ireland, from Donegal to Waterford. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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  • How did the Melodic Wood installation come about?

We were delighted to be contacted by Coca-Cola to provide new trees to complement their recycling concept. The Native Woodland Trust is the only non-profit in Ireland with a network of nature reserves where we plant new woodlands, so we were able to commit to planting new trees for Coca-Cola as part of the Melodic Wood initiative which comes under their World Without Waste global strategy.

  • Can you tell us a bit about Ireland’s Ancient Woods?

Ireland’s Ancient Woodlands are those that have been in continuous existence since at least 1650 – this means that they predate most imports of trees and are directly descended from the primeval forests that once covered almost all of Ireland. They are the most biodiverse habitats we have and are often home to rare and unusual species. 

  • What do you think Ireland’s woodland will look like in 30 years?

A few things will change – but gradually. We will continue to lose our old and ancient woodlands – they are not all protected and the protection is poorly policed. We will also lose some more species – some perhaps due to climate change – and gain some too – especially insects and birds. But our Ash trees, which is one of the most common trees in the country and famously used to make hurleys, will become as rare as Elm trees are today.

  • What would happen if Ireland lost its woodland and nature reserves?

We would lose a huge part of our cultural and environmental heritage. Trees and woods were a significant part of Gaelic culture – with even our native Ogham alphabet having its letters twinned with the different trees of the forest.  We would also lose our connection to the original primeval forests of Ireland – which once were thronged with bears and wolves and were the source of many myths and legends. And of course, we would lose biodiversity in a very significant way.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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  • What worries you the most about climate breakdown?

On a small island like Ireland, many species will not have the ability to simply move north – so we may lose some species. Higher temperatures and changing weather patterns may also add stress to various habitats, like woodlands and make them more prone to damage and disease. Climate change may very well alter the composition of our woodlands and change the face of our countryside.

  • How sustainable do you think Ireland’s festivals are?

They’re clearly improving hugely and its clearly part of the ethos of just about every festival now. Most festivals also now invite environmental groups to have a stand or kiosk, which is a great way to get our messages across to people and to allow them to actually engage with us in ways that we can’t do on social media or email.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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  • What does the Native Woodland Trust hope to achieve in the future, what are its aims?

We are also trying to prevent the loss of any more Ancient Woodland. We only have approximately 0.1 percent of those woodlands left – so 99.9 percent have been cut down, and yet now in the 21st century, we’re still losing some of what’s left. We would ultimately like to be able to plant a huge new forest – thousands of acres, which could make a really meaningful difference to people of wildlife.

  • How can we help the Native Woodland Trust?

There are lots of ways to help – join as a member, sponsor some trees – as presents, to offset your carbon or just because you want to. Come and volunteer with us – especially if you live near one of our reserves, there’s always lots of work to get involved with. If you run a company or work for one who will listen – get them to take out a corporate sponsorship with us.

  • Are businesses and specific corporations causing the most issues regarding the conservation of our landscapes?

Obviously agriculture and industry has a huge impact – but we as individuals are consuming these outputs and as a species, humanity needs to change its very wasteful behaviour. If we become less wasteful, we can change the behaviour of those businesses that produce them and who use up our natural resources. 

Wherever humans go, we tend to wipe out wildlife. We need to give some space back to nature and to leave it to its own devices, without human interference. 

  • What is it about Ireland’s landscapes that makes you so inspired and passionate?

For such a small island, we have such diverse landscapes, many of them as dramatic and picturesque as anywhere in the world. Within these, there are so many wild habitats that are home to our many native plants and animals. There’s something still innately wild about Ireland and its landscapes and its always a pleasure to be outdoors in nature in Ireland.

You can watch the Melodic Wood’s All Together Now journey here –and join the conversation using #WorldWithoutWaste. To volunteer with the Native Woodland Trust, click here.

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Coca-Cola is bringing back its hugely successful Designated Driver campaign this year in order to encourage the nation to give the 'Gift of a Lift this' December.

The campaign will offer free soft drinks to any drivers who stay sober to bring their loved ones home safely throughout Christmas; what a fab way to motivate us.

The Road Safety Authority and Coca-Cola HBC Ireland are joining forces to keep our roads safe, especially during a time where the pubs are full of people celebrating the season.

Over the last 14 years, over €7 million has been invested by Coca-Cola into the campaign to promote road safety, and have rewarded countless Christmas heroes who helped their friends and families get to where they needed to go.

The role of the Designated Driver can be a tedious one, but it's never worth the alternative. Getting yourself and your close friends and family home is the perfect way to give to them this Christmas.

An Garda Síochána, the Road Safety Authority and Drinkaware are all supporters of the campaign, which has local and national heroes such as GAA stars as its representatives.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross said;

“For many people, December will be a month of celebration; the way to ensure that the season remains festive is to plan ahead…so please, don’t drink and drive, instead travel with a designated driver and ensure you and your loved ones all get to 2019 safely.”

Any Designated Drivers can visit www.DesignatedDriver.ie to download a voucher for two free soft drinks, which can be presented at over 1000 pubs across Ireland. Otherwise they can simply make themselves known to bar staff.

I can think of a good few people who will be wanting the 'Gift of a Lift' this year, that's for sure.

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How much would you turn down to maintain the integrity of your family business?

For global business woman Phuong Tran and her home-grown Vietnamese company THP Beverage Group, it was $2.5 billion dollars. Yup, just think of how much guilt-free online shopping you could do…

An unimaginable sum, but for Tran and her father, allowing Coca-Cola to acquire controlling interest in their valued family business, no sum was worth it.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Phuong Uyen Tran (@uyenphuongtran3) on

Watching her father, Dr. Tran Qui Thanh, reject such an incredible amount of money that most could never even dream of has shaped Phuong Tran’s entire legacy from that day on.

Her philosophy revolves around the lessons learned from attempting to compete with giants, and face them down.

Since Tran and her father turned down the astounding offer, they have grown their business to full flourishment and have spread their company to over 16 countries including China, Australia and Canada.

She has now written her debut novel, Competing With Giants, and aims to inspire businesswomen around the world.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Phuong Uyen Tran (@uyenphuongtran3) on

Her first book involves Tran, as Vice-President of THO Beverage Group, weaving her advice from her father alongside her own insights into a rich tapestry which divulges fascinating facts on the changing global business landscape as well as the incredible origin story of her own company.

According to Tran, David can indeed compete with Goliath, and even outperform him. “We proved that nothing was impossible.”

Western style multinationals are now being incentivised to devise of new strategies to compete with the emerging Asian market.

“To western countries, the Asian market is a big piece of pie with robust growth in new economies. The world needs to know how an Asian business runs and how its business culture is formed. That’s the story that I wanted to tell in the book.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Phuong Uyen Tran (@uyenphuongtran3) on

Tran will travel to Ireland to launch Talent Garden Dublin’s Innovation School on October 30th and will share her vast expertise by delivering an exclusive lecture free of charge.

She will join the faculty at the Innovation School to share her knowledge with Talent Garden’s Innovation School students across Europe in the coming months.

Talent Garden’s Innovation School is a highly-regarded digital skills boot camp model with a proven track record in giving it’s entrepreneurs the skills they need to succeed.

Tran will focus specifically on granting expertise to the Innovation School in the areas of female and family entrepreneurial business, through Skype calls, online chat forums and podcasts.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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She will join the commendable faculty at the Innovation School, which boasts employees such as Jen Stirrup, a data strategist and Microsoft Data Platform MVP, and Steph Locke, one of only 58 people globally recognised with Microsoft’s AI MVP award.

Innovation School Director Ruth Kearney comments on the school’s aims: “Put simply, we are in the business of developing great 'digital talent' and bringing about a digital cultural and mind-set within organisations.”

The exciting event is free to attend, but places are limited so register early to avoid disappointment. Gets your tickets now from Eventbrite or check out www.talentgarden.org for more information.

The Innovation School is also launching two courses for November;

Executive MINDSET (23rd November): a one-day masterclass on leadership outlooks aimed at CEO’s and senior managers.

Data Science in Practice Informing Real Business (29th & 30th November) for IT professionals, scientists and software engineers.

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There are some things in life that were just made to go together. Gin and tonic. Sonny and Cher. Millennials and avocados. The list goes go. 

However, one of the greatest pairing has to be the blissful refreshment offered by an ice-cold drink on a sweltering hot summer's day. 

And while we don't get too many of those around these parts, you better believe that our freezers are stocked full of ice-cubes and Mr. Freeze for when such a moment does occur. 

Sheer perfection, right? Well what if we told you that Coca-cola had taken it one step further and created the first official coke slushy. 

Eight years in the making, Coca-cola Frozen Lemon has just launched for the first time in Japan. 

It comes in pouches, and can be enjoyed frozen, melted, or anywhere in between. 

Pro tip: Add a splash of your favourite liquor for a boozy coke daiquiri. 

In Ireland, the latest flavours to hit supermarket shelves are Coke Zero peach, and Diet Coke mango and cherry – so we're hoping the frozen variation will make its way over to this part of the world sooner rather than later. 

Bring on summer! 

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Christmas is all about giving back, and this year it's all about celebrating the real unsung heroes of the festive season – the designated drivers.

The good folk at Coca-Cola are encouraging the people of Ireland to stay sober on nights out and give the 'Gift of a Lift' this Christmas to ensure everyone gets home safely.

What better way to show your love and appreciation for family and friends than by offering the 'gift of a lift', so they enjoy all the fun of Christmas and get home hassle-free?

In support of these selfless designated drivers, Coca-Cola will once again offer two free drinks at participating bars across the Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Choose from the Coca-Cola range or a 'Coketail' – an exciting non-alcoholic drink created especially for those giving the 'gift of a lift' this Christmas.

With digital vouchers that can be stored on smartphones, it's now easier than ever to claim your well-deserved treat.

Vouchers are available by free texting Coca-Cola to 50015 in the Republic of Ireland and 80800 in Northern Ireland.

Designated drivers can also scan the QR code displayed in participating bars and restaurants across the island.

For more information visit designateddriver.ie.

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The arrival of the festive period brings with it the onset of countless family arguments regarding the appointment of a designated driver. 

While some people are more than happy to go on the dry to ensure a safe trip home for all involved, others aren't quite as quick to offer their services, and stick to soft drinks for the night.

In an attempt to counteract the latter, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland today launched its 13th annual Designated Driver campaign, which encourages people across the island of Ireland to give the ‘Gift of a Lift’ to friends and loved ones this Christmas.

And as one of the most appreciated gestures you can give to family and friends is the freedom to enjoy all the fun that Christmas offers by providing the ‘gift of lift’, Coca-Cola is adamant the designer driver needs rewarding too.

To support these selfless designated drivers this season, Coca-Cola will once again offer two free drinks from the Coca-Cola range or an alcohol-free ‘Coketail’ that can be redeemed in participating bars and restaurants across Ireland and Northern Ireland.

 And that's not all!

This year Coca-Cola is also making it even easier for designated drivers to claim their free drinks – with digital vouchers that can be stored in the mobile wallet app on their smart phones.

The campaign, which is fronted by 2017 All-Ireland Football and Hurling finalists and rivals, Dublin’s Paul Flynn; Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea; Galway’s Gearoid McInerney, and Waterford’s Austin Gleeson,as well as Ulster and Ireland rugby star Craig Gilroy has the lads' full backing.

“Christmas is a time when we all like to catch up with loved one. It’s an opportunity to go out with friends and family who you don’t see as often as you would like throughout the year, " said Aidan O’Shea.  "Nights out are a big part of the season but, let’s face it, getting home can sometimes be a challenge!"

“Being a designated driver is one of the best gifts you can give over the holiday season to help keep your mates safe, and it doesn’t cost a thing. Given my sporting commitments, I’m often the designated driver but I certainly appreciate it when the favour is returned."
 

 
“I’m delighted to support Coca-Cola with this campaign; helping to get the word out to encourage everyone to give the gift of a lift this Christmas. If you are the designated driver, be sure to claim your two free drinks!"

In the Republic of Ireland, the Designated Driver campaign is supported by An Garda Síochána, the Road Safety Authority and Drinkaware. It is also backed by the Licensed Vintners Association, the Vintners Federation of Ireland, the Restaurants Association of Ireland, and the Irish Hotels Federation.

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Coca-Cola's latest advert is receiving mixed reaction online.

In what is presumably at attempt to celebrate the Saudi government's decision to allow women to get behind the wheel for the first time, the short clip shows a father teaching his daughter how to drive.

In a scene that pretty much every learner driver can relate to, the nervous woman makes several failed attempts at driving the vehicle before pausing to take a sip from an ice-cold bottle of Coke.

Much to the shock of her father, the young female driver proceeds to cruise down the desert road with confidence as the words 'Change Has A Taste' appear across the screen.

While some viewers have praised the advert for acknowledging the introduction of the new law, others have accused the company of exploiting the historic ruling.

“The ad, which debuted on November 2, celebrates the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s decision to lift its longstanding prohibition on women drivers, focusing on a heart-warming scene of a father teaching his daughter to drive," a spokesperson said. 

“The campaign touches on the brand’s values surrounding diversity and inclusion and aligns with Coca-Cola’s commitment to enable the economic empowerment of women.”

You can check out the full clip below:


 

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For the 90s kid, the Coca-Cola Christmas truck is as synonymous with December 25 as Santa himself.

So, it’s little wonder that Twitter has been left saddened to see the world’s most celebrated holiday campaign tampered with in the most unnecessary of ways.

While the majority of the advert has followed the same general theme for the last 21 years, Christmas enthusiasts have noticed that missing from this year’s ad is the animated Santa Claus who winks at the little boy from the back of the Coke lorry.

Fans also discovered that the jingle at the end of the clip had been altered.

After the ad was played on UK television last night, distressed social media users raced online to discuss the changes.

What follows is just a sample of the chaos which ensued:

 

 

Moral of the story?  Don't mess with perfection.

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We can probably say we use cans pretty much everyday. Whether you're a fizzy drink lover, a beer lover or a sparkling water lover, we've all used one.

But little did we know just how much work actually goes into making one.

It has about a thousand stages (well, not a thousand, but a lot) and it's been worked on severely over the years to make it better and better. 

It truly is mesmerising. And we're loving the Engineer Guy, he's like the Science teacher who gave everyone A's in school.

 

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When it comes to Christmas advertising, Coca-Cola are often considered the ringleaders of the perfect Christmas ad. 

The popular soft drinks company are single handedly responsible for the fact that Santa is always dressed in red. Before the Coke ads of the early twentieth century, St. Nick used to be decked out in green!

Not only did the company make festive advertising a thing, but the Coke truck that was featured in their most popular ad campaign still gets people into a frenzy. So yeah, they defo know what they are doing. 

However, it turns out that even Coca-Cola can get it wrong from time to time. 

The company has recently been forced to pull a Mexican Christmas ad after it received a barrage of negative comments on social media following its debut. 

The ad starts by stating that "81.6% of indigenous Mexicans speak an indigenous tongue and feel rejected by Mexican society." 

Then, a group of pretty, white twenty-somethings decide to selflessly make a trip into the mountains to share a coke under the tree with the indigenous people of Mexico. 

The message is topped off by the hashtag #openyourheart. 

Following the advertisement's release, various health groups got in contact with Mexico's National Council to Prevent Discrimination labelling the ad as discriminatory and "outrageous for the indigenous [people]"

And the purported reason for the outrage is that Mexico has one of the highest rates of fizzy drinks consumption in the world as well as one of the fastest growing rates of obesity. While these issues are becoming increasingly difficult for people all over the country, they pose a significant and ongoing problem for indigenous people. 

So yeah, considering the amount of sugar one Coke contains, it's no surprise that people find the ad a bit hypocritical. 

Coca-Cola quickly removed the ad stating "We appreciated you sharing your concerns. We will be sure to pass along your comments."

Best stick to the big red trucks so. 

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If you're one of many Irish folks who take the first sighting of the Coca-Cola truck on TV as a sign Christmas has arrived, prepare to get very excited indeed.

Coca-Cola has just revealed that the famous red truck will be cruising its way around Ireland this year, stopping in various Irish towns along the way.

There are 16 stops on the Irish leg of the 2015 Truck Tour – eight Tesco branches and eight Supermac's branches.

If you fancy heading along for a look, you'll not only be entertained by the Dublin Gospel Choir while sipping on a free can of Coke, but you'll also get a free souvenir Polaroid of you and the truck to take away. 

The Holidays Are Comin' truck will make its first Irish stop in Tullamore on November 27, before taking a (pretty bizarre) route around the country – down to Clonmel, up to Maynooth, down to Killarney and more before finally ending the tour in Drogehda on December 21.

Each visit will take place between 4pm and 9pm, and Belfast folks will be able to check out the truck any time between 12pm and 8pm when it pulls in on December 16.

Excited? Here's a little taster to help you along…

 

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