Top Things to Do in Sneem
Let’s be honest, if you want shopping malls, cinemas and mass tourism, Sneem may not be for you. In that case you'd be better served by the main Kerry towns of Killarney and Tralee. Sneem on the other hand offers experiences at a languorous pace allowing you to switch off and unwind.
Why Choose a Sneem Holiday?
A holiday in Sneem offers a great number of things to do, particularly if you love being active outdoors. Why the outdoors you ask? Well, Sneem is located on the Ring of Kerry and on the Wild Atlantic Way, renowned for beautiful scenery. Exploring these and connecting with nature is the absolute best thing to do on your holiday in Sneem.
Sneem is a colourful village in South west Kerry, blessed with exquisite scenery, wild landscapes and imposing Kerry mountains. The name Sneem, means ‘the knot’ that ties together the Ring of Kerry. Here, the Killarney Mountain Road and the Ring of Kerry’s Kenmare and Waterville Roads all lead to Sneem.
If you’re willing to go out and explore, Sneem offers a great number of Things to do in all directions. Furthermore, if you’re holidaying here for a few days, you’ll see so much that the Ring of Kerry tours miss. So without further ado…..
Top Tips for Sneem Things to Do:
Go Walking in Kerry.
For walking and hiking fans, Sneem has some of the best trails and walking in Kerry. Alaind Walking Holidays is the name of our separate walking tour and holiday business and it's a great source for information on walking in the area. You can read up on our walking in kerry guides and get ideas for your next outing including the delightful Sneem Lománagh Loop and Fermoyle Loop walks. Both will take you out in to the Sneem hinterland. These loop walks are in the area known as Kerry Geopark, an area internationally recognised for its geology significance. They are well signposted, so suitable for all.
The stunning Kerry Way route lead into and out of Sneem village and my recommendation is to choose a convenient section of it for a half day’s walking. In all probability a full leg of The Kerry Way will be too long for most, so why not get organise a second car or a taxi to a convenient point along the route and walk back to Sneem.
Experienced mountain hikers can explore the Kerry Mountains. The challenging rugged ridges of the Dunkerron Mountains are particularly exciting. They mark the boundary between Sneem and the Irish speaking (Gaeltacht) Area.
The Macgillycuddy Reeks, including Carrauntoohil Ireland’s Highest Mountain will also provide a rewarding challenge. I recommend doing some Kerry Mountains research first or hire a professional mountain leader to guide you to the Dunkerron Summits of Knocknagantee or the Mullaghanattin Horseshoe in Sneem or hiking Carrauntoohil.
Experienced mountain hikers can explore the challenging rugged mountain ridges of the Dunkerron Mountains, which mark the boundary between Sneem and the Irish speaking (Gaeltacht Area).
Organise A full Moon Nighttime Walk.
Why not consider a carefully planned nighttime Kerry walk, particularly on full moon occasions. A walk at nighttime on quiet lanes and hillside trails can be a novel and wonderful experience. Of course, you’ll need to know your route, wear appropriate warm & hi-vis clothing and provide everyone with a torch. Alaind Walking can organise a nighttime walk for you and your group.
Spend a Day or More Cycling or Driving Ring of Kerry.
As I mentioned above, you’ll be rewarded for spending as much time as possible exploring the Ring of Kerry. To keep things simple, I suggest that you treat Killarney National Park, Muckross House Estate and Torc Waterfall as a Day Trip thing to do in itself. Then you can focus your plans for Cycling Ring of Kerry to the South West coastal sections between Sneem and Caherciveen. This similarly applies to Driving Ring of Kerry.
Make sure to visit Sneem’s local beaches, Derrynane, Ballinskelligs, Kerry Cliffs and Valentia Island. You can rent bicycles in Sneem.
Visit the Sneem Beaches.
Thanks to its situation on the shores of the Atlantic, Sneem has a number of fabulous beaches just a short drive away. Great for getting some fresh air, these pristine Sneem beaches will entice you to swim in their clear clean waters. The White Strand, Carroll’s Cove and Derrynane are three of the best.
Enjoy a Picnic at Gleesk Pier and the Coral Beach Sneem.
Approximately 8 km from Sneem on the Ring of Kerry Road towards Caherdaniel and Waterville, you'll find the for Gleesk Pier. Beside this pier you’ll find Coral Beach Sneem one of only two coral beaches in Ireland. What a wonderful spot for a picnic, wild Atlantic views and magical sunsets.
Cheer on the Sneem Gaelic Football Team.
There’s hardly a more authentic Irish or Kerry experience than to join the locals in cheering on their Gaelic football team. Sneem has a long and successful history of success in the sport of Gaelic Football. Home matches are played in the Sneem GAA Club on the Sportsfield Road in Sneem and announcements about upcoming games can be found on Facebook.
Explore Sneem’s Worldly Connections and History on the Village Sculpture Trail.
Within the village itself you can follow the Sneem Sculpture Trail with 14 different points of interest. In addition to honouring the memories of a number of high profile Sneem residents, the trail showcases artistic and nature installations.
The trail includes three sculptures in memory of Cearbhall O Dálaigh, the former President of Ireland who is buried in Sneem. Scupltures also remember Sneem and Kerry Footballing Legend John Egan and Steve ‘Crusher’ Casey, world heavyweight wrestler.
Catch a falling Star in Sneem’s Dark Skies.
In 2014 The International Dark Sky Association Awarded the region west of Sneem Gold Tier Dark Sky Reserve Status. On a clear night in Sneem you will see more stars and heavenly bodies than you ever thought possible. Find a unlit spot with uninterrupted sky views and prepare to be amazed. A pair of binoculars and some warm layers will enhance the experience.
We're proud to confirm that the Kerry Dark Sky Reserve became one of four Gold Tier Reserves in The World and the only one in the Northern Hemisphere.
Enjoy Moreish Sneem Restaurants & Casual Dining.
Sneem caters daily for a great number of daily tourist visitors. In fact you can think of the village as a Ring of Kerry food hub. With more than 10 Sneem restaurants or casual dining outlets, the village offers something for everyone.
Seafood, local beef & lamb and vegetarian specials are plentiful. While you’re examining the different menus, keep an eye out too for recipes involving the internationally famous Sneem Black Pudding.
Sneem Pubs - Because Doing All These Things is Thirsty Work.
There are five Sneem pubs, namely the Blue Bull, Murphy’s, Riney’s, Sneem Tavern and D’ O’Shea’s. All of these offer friendly and welcoming atmospheres and good choice of beverages. What’s more, during the busier month these pubs provide most of the live music in the village. The Sneem Newsletter provide the schedule of live music events.
Sink some Putts on the local Golf Courses.
Remember the golfing adage, drive for show and putt for dough. Sneem is a good location for golfers wanting to sink a few putts. As you can expect golf courses can vary considerably in their type, setup and price but here are some options:
Parknasilla 12 Hole Golf Club – A short fun but tight golf course in stunning parkland with Atlantic views.
Ring of Kerry Championship Course - Located in Templenoe Village between Kenmare and Sneem and a good test of skill. Buggies are recommended due to some hilly holes. The first few holes provide truly spectacular views across Kenmare Bay.
Waterville Golf Links – One of the World’s famous Golf Links. Simply a fabulous links gold experience and a real test when the wind blows.
Kenmare Golf Club – Short parkland golf course, with some beautiful holes and tricky par 3’s in particular.
Killarney Golf Club – Previous holder of the Irish Open, the Club includes three excellent courses.
Crazy Miniature Golf on Sneem's all weather course.
For an altogether different and tricky test, try Sneem’s crazy miniature golf course. Located next to the Sneem GAA Complex on the Sportsfield Road, you can play for free if you bring your own putter and balls. Otherwise putters and balls can be rented in the Village.
Approximately 12km off the South West Kerry coast lies Skellig Michael and Little Skellig Islands. If unfamilar to you, Skellig Michael is a Unesco World Heritage Site with a preserved early Christian monastic settlement. Incredulously, the monks chose to serve lives of devotion on a jagged rock perched perilously high above the Atlantic waters.
Skellig Michael is also famed for its puffin colony and as Luke Skywalker’s Retreat in Episode 8 and 9 of the Star Wars. Higher than cliff of Moher, it’s possible to land on the island and climb steps to the top. Word of warning, you need to be sure of foot, as there are few handrails on the island.
Neighbouring Little Skelligs island is home to circa 70,000 nesting gannets, nature’s perfected diving seabirds. Two types of boat trips are available, namely landing tours and eco tours.
The landing tours will bring you around the islands and disembark you on Skellig Michael. The Eco Tours on the other hand will only take you around the islands without landing opportunities. In order to avoid disappointment, advance booking is essential to visit Skellig Michael Star Wards Island, particularly so for the landing tour.
Explore the Skellig Ring by Car or Bike.
The Skellig Ring is an offshoot and extension to The Ring of Kerry Driving Route, adding approx. 20km in length. As well as providing wonderful views of the Skellig Island, you'll pass excellent beaches, a chocolate factory, Bolus Loop Walk and The Kerry Cliffs.
Visit the Kerry Cliffs.
The Kerry Cliffs are an absolute must see on your Sneem or Ring of Kerry holiday. Including this stop on your drive around the Skellig Ring makes for a great day. Not many realise that the Kerry Cliffs are higher than the Cliffs of Moher and in my opinion just as spectacular. Furthermore they are quieter and more conveniently reached - only 500m from the parking area.
Blueberry Hill Farm – a kids and family favourite.
You'll find Blueberry Hill Farm on the Killarney Road in Sneem, which is a favourite for kids and parents alike. The owners will introduce you to all the pets and allow you get up close with the farm animals. You'll also get to check out their traditional craft making skills.
Anyone for Tennis?
The village tennis court is located directly behind D. O’Shea’s pub in Sneem village and accessed via the lane between Galvin’s Hardware and Burns’ Butchers. Free to play if you bring your own rackets and balls or alternatively you can rent them locally.
Fishing in Sneem.
Sneem has all the fishing you could want:
Spate river fishing for trout or salmon;
Lake fishing for Rainbow Trout;
Pier fishing for mackerel and more
Deep sea fishing for mackerel, Pollock, skate etc.
You can purchase the locally required licenses for river and lake fishing in the Sneem Tourist Information Provider beside Sneem Bridge. The good news for sea anglers is this fishing is permitted without license. However, please note you also require a state license to fish for salmon and you should buy this online before you travel.
Take in Mass in St. Michael’s Church.
The recently refurbished St. Michael’s Catholic Church sits in the centre of Sneem village. When you see it, you’ll understand why it’s a very popular church for weddings. Many a photographer has taken beautiful photos of the newly married here. If you want to take in mass during your stay you’ll find the times in the Sneem Newsletter.
Watch Sneem Rowing Club in Action.
Particularly of an evening when the tide is high, you’ll have a good chance of seeing Sneem rowing Club practicing. The Club continues to go from strength to strength, winning all-Ireland titles at many levels. If you’re lucky you might see Sneem Rowing Club's Seine Boat launching from the Club’s Boathouse.
The Seine boat is deeply rooted in South Kerry history and tradition. Originally used as fishing boats, the late 1800’s saw Seine boat racing begin with intense competition among the seaside villages of The Ring of Kerry. You might be surprised to learn that the Seine boat holds 12 oarsmen and one coxswain. What a sight, seeing them row this great wooden boat at speed in perfect unison across the bay.
Preparing for your Sneem Holiday.
Booking your B&B holiday break at Álaind Lodges will allow you explore all the best things to do in Sneem and The ring of Kerry. We’ll happily offer advice and insider tips on things to do and see.
If you're interested in a Kerry walking holiday, we recommend starting your research by reading up on our posts on Kerry walking trails, mountain summits, and the walking holiday packages we offer.
So, what are you waiting for? Come to Sneem, there's so many things to do.