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The name Garenin, in Gaelic Geàrrannan, is probably a plural of the Gaelic word geàrraidh, meaning "enclosure". The present day village dates from about the 17th century, but there is archaeological evidence that the area was occupied in pre-history.
Until about 1850, when the linear croft layout was established, the village dwellings were located around the area known as Sìthean, just to the south west of the present day restored blackhouses. Sìthean was occupied, it seems, by one extended family of MacLeods, and most of those who consider themselves to be "from Garenin" are descended from this one family.
Like most villages along the coast, Garenin was reputed to have seven illicit whisky stills in the early to mid 19th century, although the location of only four is known today.
In the early part of the 1900s the village was so densely populated that it was nicknamed 'Chinatown' (Baile nan Sìneach). In 1904, as many as 84 of the pupils going to Carloway school were from Garenin.
The first football pitch in the Carloway district was in Garenin, at Alltan Feuragro, and was used until the present pitch was completed in 1935. On this pitch in June 1934 a travelling circus set up tent for a few days and entertained the district with their acrobats, jugglers and bare-back riders.
There are 27 crofts in Garenin. There is also a restored blackhouse village.