This English surname was taken to Ireland by settlers, where it is rendered in Gaelic as O'hlongardail. The name is familiar to County Kerry. Tralee is the chief town of the county and was a borough, the only other market towns were Dingle, Cahirciveen and Killarney. Before the Anglo-Invasion of Ireland the principal families in County Kerry were the O'Connors, O'Sullivan, O'Moriartys, O'Mahonys and O'Donoghues. Soon after the invasion, as the newcommers pushed into western Munster, the McCarthy's retreated into Kerry. The Geraldine FitzMaurices and FitzGeralds gained a foothold in the county by the 13th century and eventually extended their power there at the expense of the earlier overlords. HARRINGTON was a locational name 'of Harrington', a town in Cumberland. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived.
Early records of the name mention William de Harinton of the County of Lancashire in 1202. Ricardus de Heryngton was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Sir John Harrington (1561-1612) was the English courtier and writer, born in Kelston near Bath. From Cambridge, he went to the court of his godmother, Queen Elizabeth I. His wit brought him into much favour, which he endangered by the freedom of his satires. In 1599, he served under Essex in Ireland, and was knighted by him on the field, much to the Queen's displeasure John Harrington (1611-1677) was an English political theorist, born at Upton in Northants. He studied at Trinity College, Oxford, travelled to Rome, and in 1646 became a personal attendant of Charles I. and attended him to the scaffold. In 1661, he was arrested for attempting to change the constitution, and went temporarily insane in prison. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. (Sir Henry Harrington, knighted at Christ's Church, Dublin, 24th April 1574). The lion depicted in the crest is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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