New book looks at life growing up in a rectory family


Niall Howe author of the book Howe About That

A member of a well-known rectory family in Clogher Diocese has written a book about his adventures and experiences during his childhood.

Niall Howe, the eldest in the family of Chancellor George Reginald Howe and his wife, Mary, has published his book, “Howe About That!” which documents the family’s historical roots, the childhood days in various rectories and later school life.

Chancellor Howe grew up in Redhills, County Cavan and was ordained in the Church of Ireland following his graduation from Trinity College Dublin in 1939. He first served as a curate in St Clement’s Parish, East Belfast and he and his wife, Mary were married in 1943 just after his appointment to Drumkeeran Parish, Tubrid in Clogher Diocese. He was appointed rector of Rossorry Parish in 1957 where he remained until retirement in 1980.

Chancellor Howe died in 1993 and his wife, Mary died in 2010.

The book goes into some detail about growing up in a rectory family as well as the experiences which shaped and influenced his journey towards adulthood. Niall was the eldest in a family of four, with brothers, Brian and Don and sister, Heather.

Recalling his father’s early days in ordained ministry in Belfast, Niall explained how it was during the heydays of shipbuilding at Harland and Wolff and Luftwaffe bombing raids on Belfast.

Niall’s father was subsequently appointed Curate-in-charge of the Parish of Drumkeeran, Tubrid, in North Fermanagh, an area which provided him with plenty of opportunities to fish and shoot.

Revd Howe was also a keen gardener and beekeeper too.

As Niall describes in his book, “Life around the rectory was never dull” and “Drumkeeran was a wonderful place for us kids to grow up. I have such happy memories of my childhood there.”

The book takes readers to a simpler lifestyle of the late 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s when the home comforts people take for granted today were not experienced then.

There are some detailed descriptions of Niall’s experiences at school; he attended six different primary level schools - and the mischievous antics he got up to as he grew up.

The family’s sojourn of 12 years at Drumkeeran ended in 1957 when Revd Howe was appointed Rector of Rossorry Parish, on the outskirts of Enniskillen, marking the beginning of “an exciting new adventure” for the children.

The book charts Niall’s progress to grammar school in Sligo.

In an epilogue, Niall said; “I found the experience of reflecting on my journey from my earliest childhood memory to the point where I left school to be quite cathartic!”

He searches deeply to describe his own family relationships acknowledging that while his father was a strict disciplinarian it was, he believes, his way of equipping his children with a moral compass for life’s journey ahead.

While Niall did not follow his father into the church, he displays a real understanding of theology and messages for everyday occasions. He uses short quotations from the Bible to preface each chapter.

Niall dedicates the book to his wife, Beryl and their children, Tanya and Jonathan and his wife, Christine, thanking them “for being a wonderful blessing to me and an example of God’s love and kindness to all those you encounter.” It is also written in memory of his parents.

At least 25 per cent of all proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to Fields of Life, a Christian charity working in poor areas of Eastern Africa where it helps to change lives, transform communities and builds hope.

Copies of the book are available from Rossorry Parish Office (email:; from the Parish Office at Hillsborough (; Tel 028 92688839) or by contacting Niall by email;