Recorded in a number of spellings including (Mac) Caraher, (Mac) Carragher, Carah, Carrah, etc. but more usually without the 'Mac' or 'Mc' prefix, this is an Irish surname, but one which is closedly associated with the Scottish MacFearchair, the modern Farquar. It is claimed that the clan did originate in Scotland and probably before the 12th century a.d., but this seems impossible to verify. However nameholders are mostly to be found in the border area of Counties Armagh and Louth, between Ulster and Leinster provinces, a region of strong Scottish influence in the past, so this seems logical. The name literally translates as 'dear man', and this was a reference to the first chieftain who was given either to good works, or who may have been a follower of a 'holy man'. Many Gaelic clans descend from chiefs who were known by their often very descriptive 'nicknames', and this is one of the less 'robust' examples. According to the famous Irish biographer and etymologist MacLysart, the name as MacCarehir is first recorded at Dysart, County Louth, in 1616, during the reign of King James 1st (1587 - 1625), and outside the Plantation area of Ulster. This is a way of his suggesting that the name is not of Scottish influence. As MacCarraher it is recorded in the Hearth Tax Rolls of King Charles 11nd in 1663, whilst in the modern forms it is recorded in the Famine Registers of 1846 - 1848. An example being Mary Carah, one of the very first emigrants, who aged only fifteen and given as being 'a servant girl', left on the ship John R Skiddy of Liverpool, on March 16th 1846, bound for New York, USA.
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