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 just below the village.
There is a lot of 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 in 1990 by Kerry sculptor James Scanlon and created by local stoneworkers overlooking the river near St. Michael's Church. The buildings won the National Landscape Award in 1997.
Former French President Charles de Gaulle visited Sneem on several occasions (Paris photo show recalls de Gaulle's Irish visit) and the sculpture on the right commemorates this in the village.