Sneem (meaning 'knot') is called 'The knot in the Ring' and is less than 5 minutes drive from the house. This is a beautiful romantic little village, with a lovely relaxed and friendly atmosphere and lots of interesting shops, restaurants, cafes and a wonderful selection of traditional Irish pubs where a very warm welcome awaits you along with some delicious food, great Guinness, live music and lots of friendly chat!
The Sneem River runs right through the village and a short stroll along its banks brings you to The Garden of the Senses. These immaculately maintained gardens are awash with colour and fragrance in summer and include a bird island and a dedicated picnic and BBQ area.
Sneem has played host to many famous visitors over the years - presidents and royalty, writers, painters, and of course celebrities... Charles de Gaulle, Prince Rainer & Princess Grace, Presidents Hillery, O'Dalaigh and Robinson, George Bernard Shaw, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charlie Chaplin and more recently Colin Farrell, Rachel Weiss, Daniel Craig, John C. Reilly.....to mention but a few!
A short stroll from the house brings you to Oysterbed Harbour, one of the most captivating and magical spots on the Ring of Kerry. The views here are stunning, taking in the exquisite beauty of the harbour with its myriad of islands and stretching as far as the Beara penninsula. A leisurely walk to the pier early in the morning, to just sit and breathe in the silence, is pure and simple pleasure, or take a stroll down on a clear night and experience starry skies like you have never imagined!
See the colony of seals basking on the rocks and look out for the dolphins that regularly visit the harbour. Keep an eye out also for the otters and very often, if you look up, you'll see the white-tailed eagles as they glide along the Kenmare bay or perch on nearby Garnish Island.
Some of the local fishermen operate their boats from Oysterbed and should you fancy some lovely fresh scallops, crab, lobster, shrimp ....whatever's in season, just let them know in the morning time, and they'll be happy to supply you with dinner.
Stunning Parknasilla is an integral part of the Sneem area and an easy 2km walk from the house. From there, follow the pathways amid the most spectacular woodland and costal scenery to the lovely sheltered harbour of Rossdohan and for a longer walk, continue further along part of the Kerry Way to beautiful Tahilla Cove, passing the Deserted Village along the way. This is a truly magical area - Kerry at its very best!
A visit to the Parknasilla Hotel is a must. Non-residents are very welcome and can enjoy all the facilities of the hotel - bar, restaurants, pool, gym, luxury spa and golf course. The hotel was built in the 1890's and extensively refurbished over recent years, and has successfully retained its old world charm and character, offering a wonderful sense of escape.
The hotel grounds contain hundreds of acres of magnificent leafy woodlands with a labyrinth of walks, panoramic golf course and stunning coastline along the Kenmare Bay.
George Bernard Shaw wrote in 1910....."a place of long sea views and intricate walks between ferns and fuchsias, rock and rhododendron, to burnt out castles lost within the woods and along the various fingers of land that point south West into the warm Atlantic, this place does not belong to any world that you or I have ever worked or lived in ...it is a part of our dream world."
Derrynane is a stunning 25 minutes drive from the house, where beach-lovers will find one of Ireland's cleanest and most spectacular Blue Flag beaches, with miles of golden sand and an opportunity to enjoy all kinds of water sport activities for both adults and children - swimming, kayaking, diving, surfing, sailing (instruction and gear hire available). Enjoy some breathtaking views from the fabulous upland and woodland walks that are part of the The Kerry Way.
Golden sands have built up over time to connect the mainland to Abbey Island which you simply must visit and see the enchantingly beautiful ruins of St. Finian's Abbey which date from 700AD. Visit Derrynane House (now a museum), the ancestral home of Daniel O'Connell, 'The Liberator', and relax over coffee or lunch in the restaurant.
Killarney National Park & Muckross House
A visit to Killarney National Park & Muckross House is an experience not to be missed. The drive via Molls Gap (less than 1 hour) offers breathtaking views of some of Kerry's finest mountains, valleys and world-famous lakes. Muckross House, with its amazing gardens, forms the centrepiece of the National Park, which consists of 26,000 acres of magnificent mountains, lakes, woodlands and waterfalls, and is a place of immense beauty and historical interest.
Walk, jog or cycle around the incredible network of paths, tracks and nature trails in the National Park or if you prefer, take a magical boat trip on the lakes and/or combine this with a jarvey ride to some of the favourite spots....Dinis Cottage, Murckross Abbey, Gap of Dunloe, Ross Island. Experience the wonders of times past with a visit to Muckross Traditional Farm and a guided tour of Muckross House. Relax and enjoy lunch and a glass of wine in the Walled Garden Restaurant.