The Geraghty or Harrity Family

Geraghty or Harrity family crest

(Crest No. 232. Plate 13.)

THE Geraghty or Harrity family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heremon, and belongs to the Hy Brune tribe, also called Clanna and Siol Murray. The founder of the family was Muiredach Mulrooney or Rooney Mullethan, King of Connaught in the seventh century, and of the line of Duach Gallach, first Christian King of that territory. The ancient name was Geraghty, signifying “A Rock,” and the name was first taken from Cahir, King of Connaught.

The chiefs of the sept held possessions in the present Counties of Galway, Mayo, and Sligo. The Geraghtys, or Harritys, are descended from the same stock as the O’Conors, Kings of Connaught. In the Annals of the Four Masters, A. D. 1278, the MacOireachtaighs, Anglicized McGeraghty, or Harrity, are mentioned as heads or chiefs of Siol Murray, a term applied to the central parts of the County Roscommon. They were head chiefs of Clan Tomaltaigh.

The districts of Clan Tomaltaigh and Muintir Roduiv were situated in the barony of Roscommon, in the county of that name. When deprived of their territories in the sixteenth century, some of the clan Geraghty settled in Mayo and Sligo, and are to this day the chief possessors of the island of Inis Murray, off the coast of Sligo, having given, it is said, their name to the island from their former title as head chiefs of Siol Murray. A remarkable circumstance connected with the Geraghtys, who reside at Croagh Patrick in Mayo, is that they possess an antique bell, which is traditionally stated to have been one of those used by St. Patrick.

The McGeraghtys are still quite numerous in Inis Murray, Sligo, and other localities in Ireland, as also in America and elsewhere. The name Geraghty is also frequently spelled Gerty and Garret.

Among the representatives of this ancient sept in America none perhaps is so widely known or esteemed by such a multitude of friends as Mr. William F. Harrity of Philadelphia, Pa. Mr. Harrity has held many honorable and responsible positions, and is at present Secretary of State for the State of Pennsylvania, and President of the Equitable Trust Company of Philadelphia, Pa. Mr. Harrity was Chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the Presidential campaign of 1892, and the success of that campaign was owing, in a large measure, to the masterly ability, untiring energy, and diplomatic tact of Mr. Harrity.