Things to do in Sneem

Sneem is an Irish village located in south Kerry and is perhaps one of the most beautiful villages in Kerry.

This blog post will delve into some of the top activities to indulge in while in Sneem, along with recommendations for accommodations and dining options, ensuring that your trip to this charming village will be a memorable one.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing retreat or an adventure-filled day, here are some of the top things to do in Sneem that you won’t want to miss!

Sneem Seaweed Baths

Sneem Seaweed Baths offer a unique and revitalizing experience in the beautiful Kerry countryside.

4 barrels for seaweed in Sneem Seaweed Baths
Sneem Seaweed Baths

Set along the shores of Kenmare Bay and overlooking the South Kerry mountains and Sneem estuary, guests can soak in wooden barrels filled with Fucus Serratus seaweed, an abundant source of natural vitamins and minerals.

This therapeutic bathing experience is designed to help people relax, refresh, and feel healthier while enjoying the scenery of the area.

A barrel for seaweed in Sneem Seaweed Baths
Sneem Seaweed Baths

Visitors can relax and unwind in a hot soak, allowing the seaweed to wash away their worries with a smile.

Whether it’s a sunny day or a rainy one, Sneem Seaweed Baths provide a soothing and enjoyable way to spend some time in nature. See my webpage on Sneem Seaweed Baths here.

Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Kerry Geopark

The Kerry Geopark is an area rich in unique geology, ancient archaeological sites, history, and culture. It is a place where the landscape, history, and culture combine to create a rich storehouse of features to be explored.

Nestled between the sparkling Kenmare Bay and majestic mountain ranges lies a breathtaking area encompassing Tahilla, Sneem, Castlecove, and Caherdaniel.

Eco-tourism at its best

Kerry Geopark provides a unique and engaging experience focusing on eco-tourism. Its commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable tourism is showcased through its geological, ecological, and cultural heritage.

Visitors can gain knowledge about the significance of conserving our natural surroundings for the upcoming generations.

A journey through time

The park offers guided tours that take visitors on a journey through time, exploring the history and geological significance of the area.

Discover how the landscape has evolved over millions of years and learn about the impact of natural phenomena like glaciers and volcanoes on the formation of the countryside.

An adventure for all

Kerry Geopark has a variety of hiking and walking paths suitable for both seasoned hikers and casual tourists.

The park offers a range of trails, from easy strolls to more difficult routes that showcase some of Ireland’s most breathtaking scenery.

Visit Kerry Geopark for an unforgettable adventure that will leave you with a greater appreciation of the natural world.

The Way The Fairies Went

If you are into architecture, then The Way the Fairies Went is a fantastic place to visit. Also, known as “The Pyramids” they were completed in 1990 by James Scanlon with local stoneworkers to celebrate the winning of the national Tidy Towns competition.

The sculpture sits perfectly on the land. There are 4 stone pyramids with stained glass & it is inspired by the hills, rivers, bogs, rocks, and folklore of the area. 

Step back in time and explore the ancient Staigue Stone Fort

Located just a short distance from Sneem, the ancient Staigue Stone Fort is an impressive structure dating back to the Iron Age.

Outside front of Staigue Fort
Staigue Fort

With its incredible architecture and rich history, a visit to this amazing fort is like taking a step back in time. The stone walls of the fort are thought to have been built sometime between 300 and 400 AD and stand nearly 20 feet high.

The structure was built using dry masonry techniques without the use of mortar. The complex design of the fort is impressive for its time, with a complex entrance, an inner courtyard, and 2 rooms.

Looking into 1 of 2 rooms in Staigue Stone Fort
Steps up to the top of Staigue Fort

Visitors can explore the fort on a self-guided tour, taking in the intricate stonework and the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

The fort is located on a hilltop, offering panoramic views of the Sneem countryside and Kenmare Bay below. What makes the Staigue Stone Fort truly special is its rich history and cultural significance.

Looking out the front of Staigue Fort to Kenmare Bay
Looking out the front of Staigue Fort to Kenmare Bay

It is believed that the fort was used in ancient times as a place of refuge during times of war, and it has been preserved for generations as a symbol of the area’s rich historical and cultural heritage.

A visit to the Staigue Stone Fort is an unforgettable experience, offering a glimpse into Ireland’s fascinating past. Check out my web page on the fort here.

Soak up the sun and beauty at Derrynane Beach

Derrynane Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland, with crystal-clear water and soft sand. The stunning views of the surrounding landscape will take your breath away.

Derrynane Beach in Kerry
Derrynane Beach

It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Take a dip in the refreshing water or bask in the warm sun.

Whether you’re looking to sunbathe, swim, or simply admire the scenery, Derrynane Beach is not to be missed during your visit.

Dawn at Derrynane Beach
Dawn at Derrynane Beach

You can take some fantastic photos at this beach and make everyone wonder how you found this gem.

Drone photo of Derrynane Beach
Derrynane Beach

If you like beaches then you must visit Derrynane beach, it’s truly a masterpiece. Check out my web page on the beach here. Also, there is a coral beach at Gleesk Pier near Sneem.

Get your steps in with walking and hiking trails around Sneem

If you love the outdoors and want to explore the stunning scenery of the Sneem countryside, then put on your walking shoes and head out on one of the many walking and hiking trails available.

The Woodland Walk

The Woodland Walk – A gentle 2km walk through the Sneem River Valley and surrounding woodland.

The Lomanagh Loop

The Lomanagh Loop in Sneem is a popular Kerry Walk that takes approximately 4 hours (10km) to complete. It is a moderate walk and easy to navigate as it is entirely way-marked.

The loop is a mix of tarred road, gravel track, and hillside meadow, with a total height gain of only 200m, making it a scenic adventure that everyone can enjoy.

The walk starts and finishes in the beautiful village of Sneem, making it perfect for a group activity.

There are two options for completing the Lomanagh Loop, clockwise from Waterville Road or anticlockwise from Sportsfield Road. The former involves a short sharp walk up the main hill, while the latter is a longer, more gradual incline.

The loop is a great way to enjoy the stunning scenery of Kerry and is a must-do activity in Sneem. Due to its low-lying nature, the Lomanagh Loop is a perfect choice for those looking for a leisurely walk with breathtaking views.

The Kerry Way

The Kerry Way is a truly remarkable 214km walk that takes you on an incredible journey through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the county.

Starting from the charming town of Killarney, this famous trail winds its way through the picturesque village of Sneem, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside at every turn.

As you make your way along the Kerry Way, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of natural beauty, with hills, rugged mountains, and pristine lakes all around you.

The trail takes you through ancient woodlands, tranquil valleys, and along the stunning coastline, providing a diverse range of environments for you to explore. So why not lace up your boots and set out on these incredible journeys today?

One of the best places to go for a walk in Sneem would be Alaind Walks and most people enjoy the hiking trails and picturesque scenery.

Experience luxury at Parknasilla Resort & Spa

If you’re looking for the ultimate relaxation experience, there’s no better place to stay than the Parknasilla Resort & Spa just less than 3km from Sneem. Set amidst 500 acres of stunning woodlands and gardens, this luxurious retreat offers world-class accommodations, spa treatments, and dining experiences.

Exploring a nature trail in Parknasilla Resort
Exploring a nature trail in Parknasilla Resort

Accommodation

Choose from a range of accommodation options (hotel rooms & villas), all designed to provide the ultimate in style and comfort.

Parknasilla Resort Courtyard Lodges
Parknasilla Resort Courtyard Lodges

Enjoy stunning views of the Sneem countryside and relax in luxury amenities, including plush bedding, elegant furnishings, modern technology, and best of all you can even bring along your four-legged friend.

Teddy

Spa

The Parknasilla Spa is a haven of relaxation, offering a range of treatments designed to soothe the mind, body, and soul. Indulge in a variety of treatments, including massages, facials, and body treatments, all performed by experienced therapists using only the finest products.

Activities

In addition to relaxation, Parknasilla offers a range of activities to keep you entertained during your stay. Take a dip in the indoor pool or work up a sweat in the fitness center. 

Explore the surrounding woodlands and gardens with a leisurely stroll or rent a bike and hit the trails. There’s something for everyone at Parknasilla Resort & Spa. Check out my web page on the Parknasilla resort here.

Sneem campsite

Goosey Island Caravan Park, located in Sneem, is a picturesque and idyllic holiday destination. Nestled amidst stunning natural surroundings, this park offers a tranquil and serene atmosphere for visitors seeking a peaceful getaway.

The park boasts a range of well-maintained caravans, providing comfortable accommodation options for guests.

With its convenient location near Sneem village, visitors have easy access to a variety of amenities and attractions, including charming local shops, restaurants, and scenic walking trails.

Reservations are not necessary for staying at Goosey Island. Visitors can conveniently check in at Dan Murphy’s Bar and inquire about availability on the day of their travel to Sneem.

Sneem Summer Festival:

The Sneem Summer Festival is an annual event and the next one takes place from the 17th to the 21st of July 2024.

This vibrant festival attracts both locals and visitors from around the world, offering a unique blend of cultural, musical, and artistic experiences.

The festival features a diverse range of activities and entertainment for people of all ages, including live music performances by renowned musicians, traditional Irish dancing displays, art exhibitions showcasing the works of local artists, and a variety of food stalls offering delicious cuisine.

Additionally, attendees can participate in sports competitions, enjoy guided tours of the stunning surrounding landscapes, or simply relax and soak up the festive atmosphere.

The Sneem Summer Festival is a must-visit event for anyone seeking an authentic Irish cultural experience in a breathtaking setting.

Sneem Sculpture Trail

The Sneem Sculpture Trail is a captivating artistic endeavor that showcases the beauty of the Irish landscape while celebrating the creativity of its sculptors.

Statue of Steve Crusher Casey in Sneem
Steve Crusher Casey

Comprising of nine distinct sculptures, this trail offers a unique and immersive experience for visitors. Each sculpture tells a story, capturing the essence of the surrounding environment and reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Sneem.

Pyramid with a door at The Way The Fairies Went in Sneem
The Way The Fairies Went

From abstract forms to representational pieces, the trail presents a diverse range of artistic styles and techniques.

As visitors meander through the trail, they are taken on a journey of discovery, encountering sculptures that evoke emotions and spark contemplation.

Statue of John Egan in Sneem
John Egan (famous footballer)

The Sneem Sculpture Trail is a testament to the power of art to engage with nature and community, leaving an indelible impression on all who explore its enchanting path.

Brushwood Studios

If you are an artist, Brushwood Studios should be the number one priority when visiting Sneem. Brushwood Studios has some of the best paintings; they also offer art courses and other things to learn and enhance your art skills.

Brushwood Studios in Sneem
Brushwood Studios

That being said, you can just go there to enjoy some beautiful and thought-provoking paintings. Make sure to visit the gallery and see for yourself the beauty and craftsmanship it has to offer.

Sneem is one of the towns on the Kerry Dark Sky Reserve

If you have a love for the stars and the mysteries that lie beyond our world, then the Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve is an absolute must-visit destination.

The reserve, located in the south of Kerry, has been awarded Gold Tier status and is renowned for having some of the darkest skies in the entire world, making it the perfect spot for stargazing enthusiasts of all levels.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete beginner, the guided stargazing tours on offer will allow you to witness the beauty and awe of the Milky Way Galaxy, other galaxies beyond our own, magnificent clusters, planets, satellites, nebulas, and even falling stars.

Imagine standing under a breathtaking blanket of stars, with the only noise being the gentle rustling of leaves and the occasional hoot of an owl.

It’s an experience that will leave you feeling inspired, humbled, and connected to the universe in a way that is truly unforgettable. It’s a destination that will open your eyes to the wonders of the cosmos and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Explore the waters with motorised kayaking & safari tours

Motorised kayaking

If you’re looking for a unique and exciting way to explore the stunning Sneem coastline, then a motorised kayaking tour is the perfect activity for you.

Experience the thrill of navigating through the waves while taking in the incredible scenery of the Sneem landscape.

The motorised kayak makes things very easy for you and more enjoyable since you don’t have to worry about rowing. They usually last an hour or more, depending on which option you pick.

Safari tour

If you’re looking for a thrilling adventure that will leave you with unforgettable memories, then Sunfish Safari Tours is the perfect choice for you.

This tour company offers a truly unique experience aboard the Sunfish Explorer boat tour, where you’ll get to explore the stunning crystal clear waters and witness the breathtaking marine life up close and personal.

The tour guides are knowledgeable and passionate about the marine life in the area, and they’ll provide you with fascinating insights into the creatures that call these waters home.

One of the highlights of the tour is the chance to see the marine life up close and personal. It’s an experience that will leave you in awe of the incredible diversity of life that exists in our oceans.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or simply someone who wants to experience something truly unique, this tour has something for everyone.

Fishing

Sneem, which is on the Kerry coast, offers both saltwater and freshwater fishing. 

Deep-Sea Fishing

If you are a fishing enthusiast who has always been interested in deep-sea fishing, then you are in luck.

You can have an unforgettable deep-sea fishing adventure along the stunning Sneem coastline with the assistance of a seasoned guide.

This is an excellent opportunity to explore some of the finest fishing spots in the region and catch a variety of fish species, including mackerel, bass, pollock, dogfish & blue shark.

Apart from catching impressive fish, you will also enjoy some breathtaking views of the coastline. The Sneem coastline is famous for its beauty, and there is no better way to experience it than from the water.

However, the real excitement of deep-sea fishing comes from catching a big fish, and with the help of your guide, you will have the best opportunity to do so. Whether you are a skilled angler or a novice, this is an experience you will cherish.

Fly Fishing

Sneem River

The Sneem River is a truly magnificent spate river that is renowned for its exceptional fishing opportunities. Every year, avid anglers flock to this stunning river to try their luck at catching the plentiful salmon and sea trout that call it home.

While the fishing on the Sneem River is technically under private ownership by the Cowper family, a fishing club was established in 1997 to allow more people to enjoy its bountiful waters.

Thanks to the establishment of this club, certain stretches of the river have been reserved exclusively for its members.

However, visitors to the area need not despair – day tickets are available for purchase from the local tourist office.

This means that anyone who is interested in trying their hand at angling on this breathtaking river can easily do so, whether they are a seasoned pro or a curious beginner.

With its stunning natural beauty and unparalleled fishing opportunities, it is truly a hidden gem that is just waiting to be explored.

Lough Fadda

Lough Fadda, situated 3 miles from Sneem village, is a renowned fishing spot. The fishing season for Lough Fadda starts on May 1 and concludes on September 30.

The 14-acre lake is known for its crystal-clear water and elongated, narrow shape. For the benefit of anglers, roadside angling sites have been established, with fly fishing being a popular method at the eastern end of the lake.

However, fishing from the steep and solid rock bank of the northern shore can be challenging. Lough Fadda’s stock of Rainbow Trout is excellent, with adult fish being regularly introduced to maintain a high fish density and provide a worthwhile angling experience.

The area also has small Rudd and Eels. To fish, you should organise the trip with an expert who can take you to the correct locations where it’s safe and enjoyable.

We recommend you get in touch with an expert and not go fishing by yourself. It can lead to issues in both finding the right location and perhaps legal matters (freshwater fishing).

But if you plan the fishing trip properly, you will have a fantastic time fishing for saltwater and freshwater fish.

Derrynane House

Derrynane House is the ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell, a prominent figure in modern Irish history.

A dining table, chairs and side board at Caherdaniel House

The house, surrounded by woodland, is a museum that preserves many relics of O’Connell’s life and career.

However, it is not just a museum but a place where visitors can experience the surroundings that were familiar to O’Connell during his life. He hosted many guests and indulged in his passion for beagling in this place.

Portrait of Daniel O'Connell at Caherdaniel House

Today, Derrynane National Historic Park comprises 120 hectares of land, including Derrynane House. Visiting Derrynane House provides greater insight into the character of Daniel O’Connell, a man who made significant contributions to Irish history.

The house, surrounded by the beautiful landscape of County Kerry, was a place where O’Connell spent many summers with his family and guests. It is a must-visit location for those who want to learn more about O’Connell’s life and legacy.

Garden of the Senses

This small garden packs a big punch, offering a delightful sensory experience for visitors of all ages.

With the combination of unique features such as the Willow bower and the great fun to be had in the maze, this garden is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to enjoy the beauty of nature in a unique and engaging way.

Whether you’re a lover of flowers, a fan of peaceful gardens, or simply looking for a fun day out with the family, the Garden of the Senses has something to offer everyone. It is across the road from the Pyramids

Places To Eat

1. The Blue Bull

The Blue Bull is a popular restaurant for both locals and tourists alike, offering a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Their menu features a range of fresh seafood dishes, as well as traditional Irish favorites like shepherd’s pie and fish and chips.

2. Sacre Coeur Restaurant

This Restaurant focuses on seafood, steaks, and traditional dishes, this old-style restaurant is sure to please all palates. The warm and welcoming atmosphere is complemented by the friendly and attentive staff, making dining at Sacre Coeur a truly delightful experience.

3. The Riverside

The Riverside is a beautiful, waterfront restaurant that offers stunning views of the Sneem River. Their menu features a range of fresh seafood dishes and seasonal Irish cuisine, all made from locally sourced ingredients.

See my webpage on the best restaurants in Sneem here.

Make your stay unforgettable with the best places to stay in Sneem

Whether you’re looking for a cozy bed and breakfast or a luxurious resort, Sneem has a variety of accommodations to suit your needs. Here are our top picks:

  • Parknasilla Resort & Spa Experience ultimate luxury at this stunning resort overlooking the Sneem River. Enjoy world-class rooms, dining, and spa treatments in a picturesque setting.
  • Sneem Hotel Located in the heart of Sneem, this modern hotel offers comfortable rooms with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Enjoy delicious dining options and excellent service.
  • Álaind Lodges Bed and Breakfast Experience true Irish hospitality at this charming bed and breakfast. Located just outside of Sneem, this cozy accommodation offers comfortable rooms and a delicious breakfast. It is perfect for hikers.
  • Sneem River Lodge (self-catering) The lodge is located near the village and next to the most productive pool on the Sneem River, which is a well-known spate river for salmon and sea trout fishing. Additionally, an open boat with 6 hp outboard is available for sea fishing and picnics in the estuary when the Cowper family is not using it

Pros

  • Stunning natural beauty
  • Wide range of outdoor activities
  • Relaxing atmosphere
  • Rich cultural heritage
  • Friendly locals
  • Vibrant community

Cons

  • Your own mode of transport to visit everything

What is Sneem famous for?

One of the most notable things about Sneem is the Charles de Gaulle monument, which was erected to commemorate the former French president’s visit to the village in 1969.

How far is Sneem from Derrynane Beach?  

Sneem is located about 24.5km away from Derrynane Beach, which is approximately a 30-minute car ride. It’s definitely worth the trip – Derrynane Beach is a beautiful spot with stunning views and crystal-clear waters.

How far is Sneem from Killarney?

Sneem is approximately 46km away from Killarney, and it takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes to reach it by car.

The route includes driving by (not through)Moll’s Gap and going against the buses on the Ring of Kerry, but the scenery is breathtaking and definitely worth the journey.

So, if you are staying in Killarney and want to explore the beautiful town of Sneem, make sure to add some extra time to your itinerary.

Is Kenmare worth visiting?

Absolutely! Kenmare, Ireland is definitely worth visiting. This charming town offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy.

If shopping is your thing, then you’ll love exploring the various gift shops, boutiques, and art galleries that line the streets. You can find unique Irish souvenirs and handmade crafts to bring back home with you.

In addition to shopping, Kenmare also has a plethora of attractions. Visitors can explore the stunning scenery of the surrounding mountains and coastline, or take a stroll through the town’s picturesque streets, which are lined with brightly colored buildings.

For those who love good food and drink, Kenmare has plenty of cafes and pubs where you can sit down and relax with a cup of coffee or a pint of Guinness.

Would it be advantageous to stay in Sneem while exploring Kerry?

Absolutely! Staying here while exploring the county can be advantageous for many reasons.

Firstly, Sneem is known for its peaceful atmosphere, which can be a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can relax and unwind in the tranquil surroundings while enjoying the stunning scenery that surrounds you.

Secondly, there are several attractions (see above) that you can visit in and around Sneem.

Lastly, staying in Sneem can give you a chance to experience the local culture and interact with the friendly and hospitable locals.

How long should I stay In Sneem?

If you’re looking to explore all of the attractions in Sneem, I would recommend staying for 2 to 3 days. This will give you enough time to take in all of the sights and activities this charming little village has to offer.

From the stunning natural beauty of the surrounding countryside to the quaint shops and restaurants in the town center, there’s plenty to keep you busy.

Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities like hiking and fishing or prefer to simply relax and soak up the local culture, Sneem is a wonderful destination that’s definitely worth spending a few days in.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking to relax and rejuvenate with a seaweed bath, explore the natural wonders of Kerry Geopark, or get your adrenaline pumping with motorised kayaking tours or deep-sea fishing, then look no further than Sneem.

This charming Irish town boasts a wide range of dining and accommodation options, making it the perfect place for every budget and preference.

Whether you’re a foodie looking for delicious local cuisine or a traveler seeking a cozy place to rest your head after a day of adventure, Sneem has something for you.

Check out my web pages on the Ring of Kerry Drive, The Skellig Ring and Slea Head Drive.