Recorded in several spellings including McGarrahan, McGarahan, McGaraghan, Garahan, Garaghan Garraghan and possibly others, this is a Gaelic-Irish surname. It was originally spelt Mag Arachain, to which surprisingly the famous book "The surnames of Ireland" by the late Edward MacLysaght does not offer a meaning. This always seems to happen when the possible translation is either rude or lude. In fact this name is part way there, and describes a fearsome eater, or to be precise "The son of the son of the great eater"! Most Irish surnames, and indeed most Gaelic surnames, developed from a nickname for the original chief of the clan or sept.
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