Recorded as O'Hare and O'Hair, sometimes McHare, or Hare or Hair, this is a famous Irish clan surname. It is said to have been one of the few surnames to resist the temptation in the 17th century to discard the Gaelic prefix O', meaning male descendant of. Nevertheless there has been and there remains, considerable confusion in Ireland as to the true origin, because many English and Scottish settlers were also called Hare or Hair. The situation is now that it is difficult, if not impossible in many cases, given the paucity of records, to distinguish between origins. It would seem that people called Hare or Hair with or without the O' prefix, may be descendants of English settlers, but where the name in any spelling is found west of th River Shannon, the origin is almost certainly the Gaelic O'hEir. This has the unusual meaning of 'The male descendant of the angry one'. As to who was angry, and why, is not known, but like most Gaelic surnames this one does originate from a nickname for the first chief. To add to the confusion, the name if spelt as Hair or Haier and found in West Clare, may have a quite different origin. These nameholders are believed to be a part of Clan McGarry, whose name originates from the Gaelic word 'girrfhiadh' meaning - a hare! Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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