By Mollie Mansfield
A grandma has visited 461 different Wetherspoon’s in a 17 year bar crawl.
Deirdre O’connor, 61, has enjoyed over 461 drinks across the country in different pubs.
Along the way, she has also taken a photo of each Wetherspoons pub to prove it, and currently has three photo albums full of pictures.
Visiting a new pub once a fortnight, the Stretford, Manchester, gran has clocked up thousands of miles – drinking in pubs in Isle of Wight, Southampton, London, Glasgow and even Dublin.
Enjoying her favourite chicken balti dish with a pint of Kronenbourg, Deirdre is hoping to visit every Wetherspoons by the time she’s 70.
Deirdre, who is a catering assistant, said: “I’ve been visiting loads of different Wetherspoons for over 17 years, and I’ll never be bored!
“My favourite is a pint of Kronenbourg, but I always make sure I have at least one drink in every pub.
“Even if I don’t like a pub, I will make sure that I run in, have a quick drink and then go back out again.
“I have been all over the place, it was easy at first because I was able to visit all of the Wetherspoons’ in Manchester, but now I’m going all over the place.
“It’s quite difficult to plan, as I usually go by myself and I don’t drive – so I have to figure out train and bus times before I go, and make sure that I’m hitting all of the Wetherspoons’ on the way down too.”
Deirdre started her challenge in 2000 when she was invited to one of the pubs for a free meal, drink and look around.
She added: “I was invited to go and see the Bishop Blaize pub in Stratford before opening, along with the other local residents in the area.
“When I was there I was handed a directory which listed all of the Wetherspoons, and I was hooked.
“I had visited a few of the pubs before, but I had never taken it seriously, until I was handed the list.
“So I started out in Manchester, then went up to Liverpool, Leeds – anywhere that was close to me.
“But about three years ago, I realised it was time to venture further.
“That’s when I decided to plan trips to Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Wight.
“It was in the Isle of Wight that I visited my favourite pub – The Man in the Moon.
“I thought that the architecture was amazing, because it’s inside an old pub.”
Deirdre has also said that it is the architecture and the history behind each pub that she finds intriguing – not just her favourite chicken balti and beer meal deal on a Thursday.
Deirdre said: “Each one has a lot of history, some of them are even listed buildings.
“Each one is so different to the next and they all contain so much information about the local area.
“Every time I’m there I make sure I have a read of the history, if not beforehand on their website.”
Over the years Deirdre has been able to get her daughter, Kerry, hooked on the pubs as well, meaning that she doesn’t have to get all sorts of transport anymore.
Deirdre added: “My daughter drives, so it takes a lot less time and planning when she comes along.
“When I have to travel by myself, it takes up a lot of time mainly due to public transport.
“I visited a bunch of the ‘Spoons’ in Cumbria on Saturday, and I left really early that morning and didn’t get back until 1am the next.
“But now, thanks to Kerry, we can do everything in a lot less time.
“It’s a great way for us to have some quality time together and get to visit new places that we wouldn’t usually.
“When I’m in these different places, I also make sure that I see the sights that I’ve always wanted to visit.
“I think that’s the best part about the hobby, it’s given me a chance to get out of Manchester and travel around – I get to see so many places thanks to this little directory.
“I think it’s a great hobby to have, and being part of a Facebook group for other Wetherspoon fans really helps me plan my trips.
“We give each other a lot of support – it’s not a competition, it’s more just a group for everyone to share their interest, just like any other hobby.
“I mean, people go and visit all of the football stadiums in the UK, but I think Wetherspoons is a lot more fun!”