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Kelly's Cellars

Coordinates: 54°35′56″N 5°55′55″W / 54.599°N 5.932°W / 54.599; -5.932
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54°35′56″N 5°55′55″W / 54.599°N 5.932°W / 54.599; -5.932

Kelly's Cellars, Belfast

Kellys Cellars is a pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland, situated at 30 Bank Street in the city centre. Built on March 14, 1720, it is one of the oldest pubs of Belfast.[1]

It sits in what used to be an alley way off Royal Avenue, but a few buildings were knocked down and now Kellys sits in a square beside Castlecourt, a major Belfast shopping centre.[2] It provides pub food and traditional music sessions. It remains resolutely old-fashioned, with vaulted ceiling and elbow-worn bar and is crammed with bric-a-brac.[3]


Blue Plaque to United Irishmen

It was a meeting place for Henry Joy McCracken and the United Irishmen when they were planning the 1798 Rising.

The story goes that McCracken hid behind the bar when British soldiers came for him.[3] In September 2004 the pub had a grand re-opening under new management.[4]

In 2007 a blue plaque was erected on the site by the Ulster History Circle stating that the Society of United Irishmen met there during the period 1791 to 1798.[5]

The influential nationalist politician Joseph Devlin was assistant manager of the pub in the 1890s.[6]



From 2000 to 2024 the pub was owned by Lily Mulholland and Martin O’Hara. In 2024 the pub was bought by the Downey pub-owning group of brothers Henry, Seamus and John.[7]

Delisting and relisting

Kellys Cellars, Belfast, February 2011

In February 2015 it was reported that the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland) proposed delisting 17 Belfast buildings, including Kelly's Cellars, subject to review by the Historic Buildings Council and Belfast City Council. The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society declared that "despite their present condition, all buildings currently proposed for delisting contribute to the value of Belfast’s fragile built heritage and are important resources to promote tourism, economic investment and social regeneration".[8][9][10] As part of the significant backlash against the proposal to delist Kelly's Cellars, an American lady, Meghan Finlay (née Rice) of Massachusetts, set up an online petition to stop it, based on the pub's historical significance.[11] The petition attracted more than 2,000 signatures and brought to international attention the fight to maintain the listed status of Kelly's Cellars. The decision to strip the pub of its protected status has since been reversed.[12] On August 25, 2015 following the campaign victory, via their official Facebook page Kelly's Cellars released a statement of thanks to all who had supported their cause.


  1. ^ "Kellys Cellars - Belfast". Discover Ireland. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  2. ^ "Kellys Cellars". Belfast Bar. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Kellys Cellars". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  4. ^ "Kellys Cellars". Culture Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  5. ^ "Kellys Cellars". Ulster History Society. Archived from the original on 4 October 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  6. ^ McMahon, Seán. (2011). 'Wee Joe' : the life of Joseph Devlin. Belfast: Brehon Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-1905474356.
  7. ^ McAleer, Ryan (1 May 2024). "Kelly's Cellars bought by Derry's Downey group in multimillion-pound deal". Irish News. Retrieved 1 May 2024.
  8. ^ Stewart, Linda (20 February 2015). "Kelly's Cellars pub - where rebels of 1798 met - among 17 Belfast buildings that face being stripped of listed status". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  9. ^ "UAHS speaks out about de-listing in Belfast". Ulster Architectural Heritage Society. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  10. ^ Black, Rebecca (3 March 2015). "Not on our watch... councillors oppose delisting Kelly's Cellars". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  11. ^ "American woman launches petition". 24 February 2015. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Kellys Cellars wins battle". 25 August 2015. Retrieved 22 January 2018.