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There are conflicting opinions as to the origin of the name Enright in Ireland. Reverend Patrick Woulfe, in "Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall" (Irish and Foreign Names), derives it from Mac Innreachtaigh, for which he lists the anglicised forms Inright, Enraght and Enright, found both with and without a "Mac" prefix. He states that the name is a variant of Mac Ionnrachtaigh, both Irish forms being derived from the adjective "ionnrachtach" meaning "unlawful". The name, he says, is of Dalcassian origin. Cormac Cas was King of Thomond - counties Clare and parts of Limerick and Tipperary - around the fifth century and he spawned this tribal grouping known as the Dál gCais or Dalcassians which dominated Munster until the final suppression of the old Gaelic order in the seventeenth century. It is largely accepted in modern times that the names Enright and Erraught are from the same origin. The substitution of Err for Enr is not unusual. Interestingly therefore, Woulfe ascribes a different origin to Erraught, suggesting that it is from Ó hOireachtaigh (from an adjective meaning "holding of frequent assemblies"). This would equate the name with Heraghty and ultimately with the more common Geraghty of which the former is a variant. This name was formerly common in Galway, Westmeath and Donegal, but is now more usually found in Donegal and Mayo.
Modern family historian, Edward MacLysaght, prefers a different origin for Enright. He accepts the opinion of Rev. John Ryan, S.J., that Erraught is actually a form of the name which was formerly Enraght and is now usually anglicized as Enright. Father Ryan considers that Enright comes from an adjectival form of indrecht which seems to mean "attack". As a personal name Indrectech (later Inrechtach) is found in the early Annals. From this personal name comes the family name Mac Ionnrachtaigh. Airechtach occurs also in the early records as a personal name and from it is also derived the family name Mac Oireachtaigh (Geraghty).
In the sixteenth century Fiants we find both MacErachta (Co. Longford) and O'Heraght (Co. Roscommon); MacEnryckty and Kinraght occur at Kilmallock, Co. Limerick. The Erraughts today are located chiefly in Co. Kerry, where we would expect to find Enright rather than Heraghty, for the latter is not connected with Munster.
Dean Donal A. Reidy has suggested that Erraught in Kerry is an abbreviation of Irraghty-Connor. Matheson records Erought as synonymous with Haroughten near Tralee, where the latter has inevitably been absorbed by the commoner Harrington. Of this family was Father Maurice MacKenraghty, chaplain to the Earl of Desmond, who having given himself up to save another man's life, was beheaded at Clonmel in 1585 in the most gruesome circumstances. The Guardian of the Franciscan convent at Quin, Co. Clare, in 1685 was Father Anthony Kenraghty.
Based on Griffiths Valuation of 1850-52, Enright is the twenty third most common name in county Limerick with 224 occurrences. There are at least 127 distinct families of Enright in county Kerry and the name is considered numerous there. It is also native in county Cork.
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