Recorded as MacIlheran, MacIlherran, MacKerron, McKern, McKerron, McKerin, McKerrin, and others, this is a Scottish surname (also recorded in Northern Ireland) with confusing spellings and origins. It is believed to descend either from St. Ciaran, not only a saint but an early king of Ireland, the name means ''Little black'', or from the pre 7th century Old Gaelic word ''gear'' meaning sharp, however it may be an amalgamation of both. Curiously the surname once very popular in the Isle of Bute in Scotland is now extinct there. It seems that in the 18th century nameholders changed their name to Sharp! Early recordings are erratic in spelling and origin. Probably the first provable recording is that of Gillpatric McKerin who held lands in the county of Larkshire in the year 1350 or thereabouts, whilst in 1505 John Macilkerrane, who must have been a major land owner, granted half of Scalpsy in Bute to James Stewart of Ambrismor. An interesting observation is that a blacksmith called Johan M''Kerin was responsible for the ''construction'' of the famous cannon ''Mons Meg'' at Kircubright in 1454. As it is supposed to have come from the city of Mons in Flanders, this seems doubtful. It still stands in Edinbugh Castle and the propaganda has always been that it was not necessary to fire it, as its sheer size frightened the opposition. This is lucky because on one of its first firings it cracked - and has been useless ever since!
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