McKillen jnr’s Press Up plans to open new Dean hotel in Belfast

Dublin-based hospitality giant in bid to develop 91-bedroom hotel with rooftop swimming pool next to Ulster Hall

Developer Paddy McKillen jnr and Matt Ryan’s Press Up Entertainment group is looking to expand its business to Northern Ireland with plans for a new Dean hotel in Belfast.

The Dublin-headquartered hospitality giant has applied to Belfast City Council for permission to develop a 91-bedroom hotel on a site at 34-44 Bedford Street and 4-6 Clarence Street in Belfast city centre. The proposed development also provides for a rooftop restaurant and terrace to be known as Sophie’s, along with a 13m (43ft) rooftop swimming pool – a first for the group’s portfolio of urban hotels. The group expects the Belfast development to create 170 full-time jobs.

Bedford Way Limited, which is controlled by Oakmount, sister company to the Press Up group, is named as the planning applicant. It was advised by Belfast firm Finch.

Todd Architects has been appointed to remodel the Ulster Hall-adjacent site on Bedford Street, which was built circa 1865.


The Dean, with locations in Dublin, Cork and Galway, is the Press Up group’s boutique hotel brand. It opened its first hotel in 2014 as part of a terrace of protected Georgian town houses on Dublin’s Harcourt Street.

Jessica Carlyle-Clarke, head of business development for the Press Up group, says: “We are delighted to move forward with plans to bring The Dean to Belfast.

“This site is one of cultural significance, right next to the Ulster Hall, a venue that speaks to Belfast’s built heritage. This is an exciting time for the group as it looks to develop its footprint across the UK and Ireland.”

In August 2022, the Press Up group was granted planning permission for a Dean hotel in Birmingham, the first location for the brand outside the island of Ireland.

Jessica Doyle

Jessica Doyle

Jessica Doyle writes about property for The Irish Times