In a Knot about where to stay on the Ring of Kerry?
Nestled in the west coast of Ireland, is town, that at least from above, looks like a bow tie or a knot. A town that in the 21st century is frequented by many tourists who want to take in the picturesque Ring of Kerry. The famous Ring encapsulates some of the best scenery Ireland has to offer and a must visit for anyone trying to fully understand the Emerald Isle. Sneem, is nestled between Irelands tallest mountains (Carrauntoohil) and the wild and rugged coasts that Ireland does so exceptionally well. When the tourists are away – one can imagine this being a very sleepy little village and yet when the tourists are here, the dynamics of this village/town change dramatically, as one contends for a place in one of the many locals with legions of American tourists trying to understand where their ancestors may have come from.
Sneem is a perfect place to begin or end the exploration of the ring of Kerry. Ideally with a car or a coach, you will need at least a day to fully take in the Ring of Kerry. Although if you are thinking of cycling the Ring you will need more than a few days to really appreciate all the stops in all its glory. Although it is very possible to cycle the entire ring in a day (many have done) you won’t have the time to stop and admire all the sights that really need to be taken in.
I’ll talk about the Ring of Kerry in another post, but for today – I think it should be noted that Sneem is a village, split into two, by the Sneem River. With the respective sides being known as North Square and South Square. Each part of the village has its own feeling and unique beauty. Although it must be noted that the best Fish and Chips are found on the North side of the village, while the best pint is (at least in my mind) found in the south side of the village.
In the South of the village you will find the Catholic Church but what’s more fascinating is glancing to the right of this church you will find stone pyramid structures known as “The Way the Fairies Went”, also referred to as “The Pyramids”. The work was carried out to celebrate Sneem winning the National Tidy towns competition way back in 1987. Although, I think they in part, pay homage to the stone houses that you find on the Skellig Islands made famous by the Awful Star Wars Movie where Luke Skywalker was emasculated to make Rey Skywalker the star of the show. On the Skellig Isles you will find stone huts that date back to the 6th-8th Centuries.
Sneem has a number of hotels and Bed and Breakfast options scattered throughout it and due to the numbers who stay in Sneem daily the population of the village hits the thousands. When I last stayed in Sneem, I stayed on the Southern edge of the village at the very modern and super accommodating Sneem Hotel. With breath-taking views; should you opt for a lakeside room, it’s a highly recommend stay (at least by this Englishman’s standards) should you be taking in Sneem and the Ring of Kerry. Alternative options can be found scattered around Sneem and although I may not have stayed in all these options – I can guarantee thanks to the Irish hospitality and the desire to always be accommodating any option you choose in Sneem or he surrounding area will be excellent value and worthy of your time and money.
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Thank you - Alex van Terheyden