Looking west from the bridge
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|Irish Grid Reference||V687670|
Sneem (Irish: An tSnaidhm) is a town situated on the Iveragh Peninsula (part of the Ring of Kerry) in County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. It lies on the estuary of the River Sneem. National route N70 runs through the town.
The Irish town name, "An tSnaidhm", 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.
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. A less common explanation is that Sneem is the knot in the scenic Ring of Kerry.
There is much public sculpture in Sneem. 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 and 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. It was financed by the Arts Council of Ireland as a result of Sneem winning the Irish Tidy Towns Competition in 1987. The project was completed in 1989–90. The buildings won the National Landscape Award in 1997. Ó
A number of common Irish family names are associated with Sneem, including Ó Súilleabháin/O'Sullivan. Because there are many of that surname, locals follow the Irish tradition and append adjectives to distinguish them, for example "O'Sullivan-Mountain".
Former French President Charles de Gaulle visited Sneem on several occasions (Paris photo show recalls de Gaulle's Irish visit) and a sculpture commemorates this in the village.
The legendary Casey family of rowers and wrestlers were all from Sneem; the most famous was Steve 'Crusher' Casey who emigrated to America in 1936. He was both NWA and AWA heavyweight wrestling champion of the world five times between 1938 and 1947. On one occasion he held the title for just a few weeks before being defeated. In 1982 he received the Irish Hall of Fame Award, presented by Olympic gold medallist Ronnie Delany. There is a statue commemorating him in the village.
William Melville, the first head of the British Secret Service, was born at nearby Direenaclaurig Cross.
- Sneem.com – village web portal
- Sneem.net – community website
- Photos of Sneem
- The Tidy Towns of Ireland "Celebrating 50 years"