Walks & Trails Clare Island

Clare Island Loop Walk (Mayo Trails)

Fawnglass Loop

  • Theme: Island
  • Terrain: Surfaced roadways & green tracks
  • Distance/Difficulty: 3km/ Easy
  • Ascent: 90m / 90m
  • Duration: 1 hr – 1hr30mins
  • Minimum Gear: Trekking shoes, raingear

Knocknaveena Loop

  • Theme: Island
  • Terrain: Surfaced roadways & green tracks
  • Distance/Difficulty: 3km/ Moderate
  • Ascent: 110m / 140m
  • Duration: 2 hr – 2hr30mins
  • Minimum Gear: Hiking Boots, raingear, snacks & fluid

Loop Description

The trailhead is located at a gable wall 50m from pier. Veering right at the first Junction and passing the Granuaile House both loops reach a Y-junction at O Grady’s Guesthouse. Veer left here – following the signpost for ‘All Routes’- and continue along the surfaced roadway for 1km to reach the second ‘bohereen’ on the right. The Fawnglass Loop (green arrows) turns right here – the Knocknaveen Loop continues straight. Following the bohereen uphill and through a series of three gates the Fawnglass Loop reaches a junction with a green track (where it rejoins the Knocknaveen Loop on its return) and turns sharply to the right to begin the descent to the pier again.

The Knocknaveen Loop follows the surfaced road for 1.5km to reach a Y-junction where it veers right onto a minor roadway in the direction of the Abbey. Passing the abbey the loop follows the roadway for 1.5km where it turns right onto a grassy track and around the northern side of Knocknaveen Mountain. The green track continues for 2km and rejoins the Fawnglass Loop at a metal gate at the 3 way junction mentioned above. Passing through the gate, both loops descend for 200m to reach another gate which takes the walker onto a surfaced ‘bohereen’ beside the old schoolhouse. Turning right, both loops continue the descent to Capnagower – passing the Gaelic Football pitch on the way. Turning right again the loops follow the road alongside the small beach to reach the trailhead.

LEAVE NO TRACE (Principles of Outdoor Ethics)

Please adhere to this code on any trips to the outdoors.

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare: Be sure you are able for the level of walk you propose to take and that you have the correct equipment for the terrain. Follow all safety instructions that may be posted along the route. Check the weather forecast and always be prepared for changing weather conditions. Leave details of your plans with somebody and don’t forget to contact that person later to say that you have returned safely.
  2. Dispose of Waste Properly: ‘Pack It In, Pack It Out’. Bring home all litter and leftover food including biodegradable waste.
  3. Leave What You Find: Respect property. For example, farming or forestry machinery, fences, stone walls etc. Leave gates as you find them (open or closed). Preserve the past: examine – but do not damage – archaeological structures, old walks and artefacts. Conserve the present: leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  4. Respect Wildlife and Farm Stock: Dogs should be kept under control at all times and should not be brought onto hills or farmland.
  5. Be Considerate of Others: Respect the people who live and work in the countryside. Park appropriately – avoid blocking gateways, forest entrances or narrow roads. Let nature’s sound prevail. Keep noise to a minimum.
  6. Travel on Durable Surfaces: Durable surfaces include established trails and forest roads. Aim to leave your picnic site as you would like to find it.
  7. Minimise the Effects of Fire: Fires can cause lasting impacts and are dangerous to forests especially in late spring. Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, barbecues or create a mound fire. Do not burn plastics or other substances which emit toxic fumes. Dispose of ash carefully.


The walks are waymarked using black posts, about 1 metre high & local stone slabs, with a direction of travel arrow (green and purple).


These loops are part of a countrywide network of high- quality, circular walks being developed by Fáilte Ireland in association with the National Waymarked Ways Advisory Committee. The loops have been constructed with the kind assistance of local landowners and organisations.

Walkers use these routes entirely at their own risk. No responsibility can be accepted by landowners or by the publishers and authors of this information leaflet, for any loss, damage or injury caused or sustained during the walks.


Further information is available from Clare Island Community Development Office, Tel: 098 26525

Visit Mayo Walks on www.mayowalks.ie

Link to Walking on Clare Island on Youtube.ie (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKA57hZTR34)