Belfast ‘Imagine’ Festival

March 27, 2024

I wouldn’t normally illustrate a book event with a photo of a pub, but this is a very special pub and the photos of the event itself were poor.

We arrived in Belfast on Saturday morning with plenty of time to jump on a train and travel four stops to the seaside at Bangor. It wasn’t seaside weather and we were hungry.

“Go to Jenny’s,” someone advised us. And here we are in what is advertised as ‘Bangor’s oldest pub’ – the ‘Jenny Watts’. It would take too long to explain who she was or what she did but her pub is gorgeous – living history, well preserved. And the food was excellent as were the staff.

Seven hours later I was on stage at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast with my old friend Stephen Walker, the BBCs former Northern Ireland political editor and author of many brilliant books including a biography of John Hulme. This was the fifth event we’ve done together over the years and as always Stephen was a warm but incisive interviewer. I was there to promote ‘Death on the Thames’ but we talked about everything in front of a packed audience who also got their opportunity to ask questions. Belfast was already one of our favourite places and Stephen and his family amongst our very favourite people.

We can now add in the Jenny Watts as one of our favourite pubs.

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