As long as i can remember, I have been visiting Sneem's coral beach beside Gleesk pier. For it was here that my family went for walks, exploring, picnics, swimming, boating, fishing and even rock climbing. This is not surprising really, as it is one of the most idyllic spots you'll find on the Ring of Kerry.

Recently two german guests booked a three night stay at Álaind Lodges B&B Sneem. When they had checked into their ensuite room they asked for a suggested evening walk near Sneem. Immediately, I knew a visit to the Coral Beach Sneem would be just the activity they wanted.

For details on other favourite attractions and activities near Sneem please visit my Things to Do in Sneem guide or sign up to the Álaind Lodges mailing list to be kept in the loop.

How to Get to the Coral Beach

The Coral Beach is a 20 min (13km) drive from Sneem on the N70 in the direction of Caherdaniel. After about 8km you will reach a left turning off the N70 Ring of Kerry route signposted towards Gleesk Pier. The following section, like much of the Ring of Kerry, is narrow and winding. However, if you have the nerve for driving on Ireland's Boreens (narrow countryside roads), it's a nice trip to the Pier.

Perhaps the best way to get to the Coral Strand is by bicycle, to really appreciate the surrounding nature. I have also walked across the mountains from Sneem to reach Gleesk Pier, which lies beside the coral beach itself.

Mearl on Coral Beach Sneem

Why is the Beach Special?

The coral beach in Sneem is a rare geological and maritime gem and one of only two in Ireland. The other beach is near Carraroe in County Galway and both consist of dried and sun-bleached coralline algae known as “maerl". This is different from the real coral, that you find on the great barrier reek for example.

For reasons beyond my understanding, the maerl only washes up on this one little section of beach. Here, rather than find white sand, you'll find a the beach covered in bleached coral-like algae shapes and beautiful seashells. If you time it right so that the tide is out when you visit makes for a very pretty scene.

Is the Coral Beach in Sneem worth visiting?

So back to my german guests and what they found when they arrived at Gleesk pier. The pier itself is small and quiet and one often sees children jumping from it into the waters below. The grazing sheep in the area, keep the grass tightly maintained. I like exploring the ruined houses, one of which has concrete walls festooned with colourful shells and glass.

Ruined Stone House at Coral Beach Sneem

The coral beach itself is approxiamtely 150m to the left (south) of the pier when you arrive. You have to walk past the ruined houses up and over the hill, taking care as you go. I suggest wearing waterproof footwear or step carefully to avoid any wet ground.

Sheep Crazing near Gleek Pier Sneem

When you reach the coral beach, you clamber down to it to delight in the whole experience. Why not bring a picnic, relax on the beach or find a vantage spot overlooking Kenmare Bay. Sunsets of course in this area can be quite beautiful.

As this is privately land, please respect the owners and bring all your belongings and trash away with you.

At Gleesk Pier Sneem
Kenmare Bay View from Shore Rocks at Gleesk Pier

Sneem's Coral Beach is one on the many wonderful attractions and things to do in Sneem for the whole family. If you like nature and exploring outoors, Sneem offers lots to do. For more info be sure to check my Top Attractions in Sneem guide.

You can book your hotel Sneem b&b accommodation with us directly for the best rates. While you at it, if you're want ideas for top Kerry walks near Sneem, my dedicated website will help you. This is where to go to discover the most amazing places.