In what must surely qualify as one of the most audacious Christmas parties on record, two dedicated drinkers have just completed a festive round-the-world pub crawl which has seen them visit 72 pubs on six continents in 20 days. The alcoholic odyssey, which involved a whistle-stop tour of some of Hong Kong's finest hostelries last week, was the brainchild of Irishmen Frank McNally and Eammon Conaghan, who dreamt up the scheme - you guessed it - over a few drinks in a bar. Kicking off stateside on December 1 in Chicago, the pair next headed south to the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires before crossing the Atlantic to their 'spiritual' home, Dublin. After a few refreshments by the banks of the River Liffey, it was off to Johannesburg in South Africa. The last leg saw them arrive in Hong Kong last week, before ending with a final fling in Perth, Australia, on Thursday. And the beauty was, they didn't have to pay a cent. Their sponsors, an Irish microbrewery and the makers of a 'hangover remedy' pill, picked up the tab for the 44,000km festive knees-up, during which they crossed the equator five times and took in three winters and summers. Business development manager Mr McNally, 31, who hails from Dublin, says the marathon was an extension of an Irish tradition called 'The 12 pubs of Christmas', where friends visit 12 bars in one night. 'The idea is to visit the 12 pubs and have one pint in each. We just decided it would be a great idea to take this simple but effective idea global,' said Mr McNally. The Sunday Morning Post caught up with him in - where else? - The Globe bar in Hollywood Road, Mid-Levels. 'We never thought we'd pull it off but thanks to a lot of help from friends back in Ireland who did everything from translation to booking, we pulled it off.' The pair say their motivation was simply to have a good time and sample pub cultures around the world. As well as a detailed website cataloguing their exploits ( www.thetwelfthpub.com ) they kept a black book inscribed by all the barmen and -women who served them. Newspapers from the United States to Australia have covered their exploits, and the boys even appeared on South African television. 'What has struck us most everywhere is simply how friendly everyone has been. On the face of it, it may appear like a whopper of an excuse to get to see the world and get drunk but we really are having to be quite disciplined,' said Mr Conaghan, who works in communications and was born in New Zealand to Irish parents. Their Hong Kong pub crawl had the distinction of being their longest - with the pair leaving their last bar - in Wan Chai - at 7am.