Coordinates: 51°50′18″N 9°53′59″W / 51.838376°N 9.899797°W / 51.838376; -9.899797
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An tSnaidhm (Irish)
Looking east from the bridge
Looking east from the bridge
Sneem is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 51°50′18″N 9°53′59″W / 51.838376°N 9.899797°W / 51.838376; -9.899797
CountyCounty Kerry
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-1 (IST (WEST))
Irish Grid ReferenceV687670

Sneem (Irish: An tSnaidhm)[2] is a village 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 which expands here to Kenmare Bay. The N70 road runs through the town, which is approximately 22 kilometres (14 mi) west of Kenmare. While the 2016 census recorded a population of 288 people,[1] Sneem is located in a tourist area and the population increases during the summer months.[3]


The Irish village name Irish: An tSnaidhm means "the knot" in English. Several explanations of the name have been offered:

  • One is that a knot-like swirling is said to take place where the River Sneem meets the currents of Kenmare Bay in the estuary, just below the village.[citation needed]
  • Another notes that 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.[4]
  • A less common explanation is that Sneem is the knot in the scenic Ring of Kerry.[citation needed]


A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, published by Samuel Lewis in 1837, states that at the time, Sneem consisted of a harbour, a collection of houses, a church, a chapel and a "constabulary police force".[5]

Former French president Charles de Gaulle visited Sneem in May 1969, and a monument to him now stands in the village's North Square.[6]

A book, Sneem, The Knot in the Ring, recounts the area's history.[7] In 2000, a time capsule was buried in the centre of the town, to be opened in 2100.[8]


The village is in the South and West Kerry electoral area of Kerry County Council, and the Dáil Éireann constituency of Kerry.

Historic buildings and places[edit]

Derryquin castle[edit]

Derryquin Castle was an 18th-century stone-built country house, now demolished, in the Parknasilla estate close to Sneem. Designed by local architect James Franklin Fuller, the house comprised a three-storey main block with a four-storey octagonal tower rising through the centre and a two-storey, partly curved wing. The building was equipped with battlements and machicolations.[9]

Rossdohan house[edit]

Rossdohan House on Rossdohan Island was built c.1875-1881 by architect John Pollard Seddon for Dr. Samuel Thomas Heard, a surgeon who had recently retired from his role in British Raj-era India and bought the island. It was burned down in 1922 and a new house built on the site in 1946 by architect Michael John Scott in the Dutch Cape style (resembling Groot Constantia in Cape Town). This second house was burnt down in 1955 and has remained a ruin since. Rossdohan Island and the remaining estate have a mixture of tree ferns and exotic plants still extant, many dating from the late 1800s.[10][11][12]

Bridge Street in Sneem


See also[edit]

Bridge near village square


  1. ^ a b "Sapmap Area - Settlements - Sneem". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office. April 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  2. ^ "An tSnaidhm / Sneem". Irish Placenames Commission. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  3. ^ "Clock is ticking: Sneem is waiting for news of new GP". The Kerryman. Independent News & Media. 12 August 2017. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  4. ^ E., Stoakley, T. (1986). Sneem : the knot in the ring (2nd and enl. ed.). Sneem, Co. Kerry: Sneem Tourism Association. ISBN 0951163000. OCLC 18192375.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel (1837). A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland. S. Lewis and Co.
  6. ^ Lucey, Anne (7 June 2019). "50th anniversary of visit by Charles de Gaulle to be marked in Co Kerry". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  7. ^ Stoakley, T.E. (1986). Sneem: The Knot in the Ring. Sneem, Co. Kerry: Sneem Tourism Association. ISBN 0-9511630-0-0.
  8. ^ Cashin, Joe (12 October 2005). "To be opened in 2100". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 13 February 2007.
  9. ^ "1860s – Derryquin Castle, Sneem, Co. Kerry". Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  10. ^ "CO. KERRY, ROSSDOHAN HOUSE (SNEEM)". Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  11. ^ "Rossdohan House, Dunkerron South, Kilcrohane, Rossdohan Island". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  12. ^ "Re: Re: 'Dutch Billys')". Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  13. ^ "The Dream Team from Sneem". The Irish Times. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  14. ^ "Death of Kerry legend John Egan, aged 59". The Irish Times.
  15. ^ "John Egan Memorial". 12 September 2017.

External links[edit]