Sneem, meaning "a knot" in Irish, hence "The Knot in the Ring of Kerry" a village situated on the Iveragh Peninsula (part of the Ring of Kerry) is a charming and peaceful village located between Kenmare and Waterville.
The Irish for Sneem is “An tSnaidhm” which means "The Knot" in English. One explanation of the name is that a knot-like swirling is said to take place where the Sneem river meets the currents of Kenmare Bay in the estuary just below the village.
Also Sneem village comprises two squares, North and South. A bridge in the middle of the village, viewed from overhead, acts as a knot between the two squares. Each part of the village has its own feeling and special beauty, there is really no better way than to spend a day exploring.
Nestled between mountains and wild and rugged coast it offers some of the best views in the county, to be experienced either from the car, on foot or on a bicycle as the weather dictates! It stands on the bank of the tumbling River Sneem that twists and weaves its way down the mountainside and through the village.
The village is immaculately kept with its traditional buildings, pubs, restaurants and craft shops, painted in an array of beautiful colours. It is a past winner of the “tidy towns of Ireland” competition.
Ramblers on the Kerry Way a way of walking around the Ring of Kerry, find Sneem a relaxing place to stop and sample the excellent food and drink. It is also a great place to catch a few salmon.
This figure-of-eight-town joined in the middle by a picturesque little bridge, with a rushing salmon stream below, is a cornucopia of colour. With brightly painted houses, a sculpture park and a monument to an Irish president, Caerbhaill O Dalaigh who retired here.
There are several other unique sculptures in and around the village. Sneem sculpture park is located outdoors just behind the village. If you are not into sculpture then you will walk right through the square and not even notice it.
The work of Vivienne Roche, Alan Hall, Tamara Rikman and a panda sculpture donated by the Peoples Republic of China can be seen in various locations. "The Risen Christ" by Brother Joseph McNally is located in the grounds of St. Michael's Church.
The goddess Isis donated by the people of Egypt stands at "The Way The Fairies Went", a collection of buildings designed by Kerry sculptor James Scanlon, and executed by local stoneworkers overlooking the river near St. Michael's Church and a sculpture of Sneem`s famous wrestler Crusher Casey.
He was the supreme wrestler in the world for a decade no-one in Europe or America could match him. Then he turned to boxing and the great Joe Louis refused to go into the ring with him.
The boys of the Kingdom of Kerry seen glory on many a field, but the brothers called Casey from Kerry at wrestling were surely the cream. The most famous of all at the spin, flip and fall, was the famous Steve Casey from the village of Sneem. They don't make men like Steve `Crusher' Casey any more.
Sneem has played host to a number of dignitaries over the years who have chosen to holiday in this beautiful village. Former French President Charles de Gaulle visited Sneem on several occasions and the sculpture on the right commemorates this in the village. Sneem has played host to a number of dignitaries over the years who have chosen to holiday in this beautiful village.
The late Princess Grace of Monaco, also a film star, holidayed with her family in Parknasilla in 1961. Other visitors to the area over the years included President Chaim Herzog of Israel and the Dutch Royal Family.
Big Bertha, the oldest cow in the world, living to nearly 50yrs of age, is one of Sneems greatest celebrities.
Big Bertha was born on Saint Patrick’s Day in 1944; she was of the rare Dremon breed, mother of 39 calves, raised funds for local charities and loved her Guinness. She can still be seen in the town, stuffed and mounted.
A serene walkway down the banks of the Sneem river is the location for The Garden of the Senses. The gardens, while small, are awash with colours, fragrance and aromas. The gardens also include a bird island and a dedicated picnic and barbecue area. If corals are your thing then one of only two coral beaches in Ireland can be found near Gleesk pier in Sneem.
Sneem is set in idyllic walking country and also enjoys the mild currents of the Atlantic gulf stream which give rise to sub-tropical vegetation. It is the perfect location for relaxation, gathering ones thoughts and resting the mind. No hussle and bussle allowed here.
Nowadays tourism is very important for Sneem, during the summer months coaches bring visitors from all over the world though out the day and is the perfect location to explore the beautiful South-West of Ireland.
Where can you stay when in Sneem?
To experience the real Ireland, staying in
a Bed and Breakfast property is
the way to go. Become part of an Irish family for a short while and feel the
warmth. Your hosts will be friendly and welcoming, invite questions, offer
advice on places to visit, the best beaches, pubs, restaurants, shops,
galleries and will often book excursions for you.
Coomassig View on the Waterville road on the N70 Ring of Kerry road is an excellent B&B. The long and short of Coomassig View is this: we have travelled extensively all over Europe and the States, have stayed in dozens of B&B's, and this place is the nicest, friendliest, most genuine and charming place we have ever encountered.
Tahilla Cove Country House on the Sneem-Kenmare road is also excellent. An incredible location right on the sea, lovely rooms with huge windows looking out on the bay, a very good Irish breakfast and a very special atmosphere. The kids can have great fun in the canoes in the bay and you will enjoy the different parts of the house and garden to relax.
Stone House Located in Sneem's North Square, conveniently combines a restaurant with accommodation. Stone House is known for its connections with local sea fishing and boat men and long service to fishermen who stay here year after year. Fishing groups are a speciality with deep sea angling trips arranged on request with a local boatman who knows all the best places.
Bank House in the North Square. A friend of mine said, and I quote: “This was the nicest BnB we've ever stayed in! It was a super adorable house with the most welcoming hosts we've ever met! They went above and beyond the job of regular hosts - helping us find transportation and acting as tour guides to the surrounding area. The breakfast was superb, with delicious tea and bread they brewed and baked themselves. We would certainly recommend this BnB to anyone :)”
There are plenty more high quality B&B`s and hotels in the area. If you find a great one let me know.
Now where shall we eat and enjoy the craic:
D O'Sheas Bar: North Square, Sneem. This is a typical Irish Pub/Restaurant, but the food is more than just typical Irish fare – It has extra flare . Fettucine w/crabmeat/prawns/chili sauce; Beef Burger/"Fries-not chips"; Irish Bacon with Colcannon! They also have a selection of Irish cider that we tried. A great stop!
The Sneem Hotel: The restaurant is open to guests and visitors alike for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering a varied menu reflecting both Irish and international cuisine. Inspiring views of the sea and mountain scenery of the Ring of Kerry compliment any meal at the Sneem Hotel restaurant. After any meal the grounds around the hotel offer an excellent opportunity for a walk along the river. Tel. 064 6675100
Gossip Café: The cafe is a new addition to Sneem having opened summer 2012. It can be found in the north square just next door to O'Sheas. They offer a variety of good food, including toasted sandwiches, great cakes and a good selection of Pizzas. I must not forget to mention the good old fashioned sweets on sale too. The opening hours are 9:30 through to17:30. Tel: +353 64 664 5106.
The Blue Bull: Located in South Square and is a traditional pub run by the O'Carrols family. Its a fine place to sample Sneems famous black pudding, which is always on the menu, and you will be in good company as its Andrew Lloyd Webbers favorite Irish pub. Tel: 064 6645382.
Sacre Coeur: is an excellent restaurant at the other end of town, you could have a meal here and then head over to the Blue Bull. Riverain Restaurant, in the North square for a candle-lit dinner. Village Kitchen, for decent home cooked food For your Evening Wind-Down.
If you have any information or news on Sneem, please let me know and I will add it to this page, thanks.