The Barony of Kinalmeaky, County Cork, has one of the highest concentrations of the name Harrington, the Irish family name not to be confused with the English Harrington. Although some Harringtons living in Ireland undoubtedly come from English heritage, the Irish name in Gaelic was originally O hIongardail, which became anglicized as O'Hungerdell and then Harrington.
In another branch of the family, the name was more commonly anglicized as Heraghty, from the Gaelic word hOireachtaigh, meaning "holding of many assemblies." The Heraghty name is found in Mayo and Cork. A third strand stems from the O hArrachtains, anglicized to Harraughton, a synonym of Harrington found in the Dingle area of County Kerry.
Some Scots-English Harringtons are believed to have fought with Strongbow (Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke), during his invasion of Ireland. These Harringtons, or the Strath-Clyde Britons, were originally from an area around Glasgow, Scotland. Records show that in reward for military service they were granted lands in southern Ireland.
Other Harringtons, from the Cumberland area, were also brought to Ireland as part of British resettlement efforts. In Ireland's political history, Timothy Charles Harrington is one of the most famous Harringtons. Born in Castletownbere, County Cork, in 1851, Timothy was a practicing lawyer and owner of two newspapers, The Kerry Sentinel and United Ireland. He also served as secretary for the Irish National League, a main base of support for the Irish Parliamentary Party, and acted as counsel for Charles Stewart Parnell, the party's leader. In 1883, he was elected as a representative for Westmeath, and in 1885 he was elected to the Dublin Harbor constituency, a position he held until his death in 1910.
Harrington served as Lord Mayor of Dublin for three years, 1901-1904, and is remembered for refusing to meet with King Edward VII when the king visited Dublin in 1902. The Georgian house where Timothy died is now a swanky Dublin hotel called Harrington Hall. Meanwhile, in New York there is a college center named for another famous Harrington.
Michael Harrington (1928-1989), a professor of political science at Queens College, New York, was one of the most prominent socialists and political thinkers of his generation. The St. Louis Missouri native's book The Other America: Poverty in the United States had an effect on both the Kennedy and Johnson administration's policies to combat poverty. The Michael Harrington Center at Queens College, was named for Harrington, who died of cancer in 1989.
Also in the academic world, two members of the tribe have put their stamp on American colleges. The Rev. Donald J. Harrington has been President of St. John's University, New York, one of the biggest Catholic universities in the country, since 1989. And John P. Harrington, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has written several books on Irish literature, history and culture.
In the world of entertainment, Pat Harrington, Jr. (born 1929) is most famous for his voice work as Inspector Clousseau in the 1960s animated movies, and for his role as Dwayne F. Schneider in the daytime drama "One Day at a Time."
While the Harrington clan has certainly made its mark in all manner of pursuits, nowhere is the clan's prowess more evident than in the world of sport. In Ireland,
Paddy Harrington played Gaelic football for Cork in the 1950s. His son, Padraig Harrington, is the 2007 British Open Golf Champion and remains a high-profile and accomplished golfer. On this side of the pond, Padraig's cousin, Joey Harrington, Jr. is quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. Born in Portland, Oregon, Joey's grandfather and father played quarterback for the universities of Portland and Oregon respectively.
A story goes that upon hearing of his birth, the Oregon Ducks' coach Len Casanova jokingly sent his parents a letter of intent. Harrington eventually became a three-year starter for the Oregon Ducks, earning numerous awards. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2002 as the third overall pick and became their starter. After enduring a difficult couple of seasons, he was traded to the Miami Dolphins. Earlier this year, he moved to the Atlanta Falcons and is their starting quarterback this season.
And finally, one more champion Harrington who just happens to be a cousin of both Padraig and Joey Harrington. Besides being a former World Series of Poker champion, Dan Harrington is a champion backgammon player, and a U.S. chess master. He played poker against Bill Gates while Gates was at Harvard, and is the co-author of three books on tournament poker. Dan's live tournament winnings to date exceed $4,750,000.