This paper focuses on narratives of resilience, identity and coping of parents from asylum seeking communities living in a Direct Provision centre in Ballyhaunis, a rural community in the West of Ireland. Direct provision is defined as a system which provides for the welfare of persons (i.e. full board and ancillary services) whilst they await decisions on their asylum applications (Reception and Integration Agency 2010; Nasc 2015). A Direct Provision Centre has existed in Ballyhaunis since 2000 and is inhabited by 204 children and adults at the present time though in past years the number was considerably higher. Ballyhaunis is a unique case-study site due to its substantial migrant population who relocated here in the 1970s and 80s, principally for economic and religious reasons (McGarry 2012). Despite the substantial population of children and families living in Direct Provision centres across Ireland, however, research underlines that Direct Provision contribute significantly to economic deprivation and exacerbates the social and cultural marginalisation of children and families (cf. Ogbu et al. 2014). Drawing on qualitative materials from a study of family support services for asylum seeking children and families (i.e. in-depth interviews, Focus Groups and Participant Observation), we argue that families living in Direct Provision regularly experience consistent poverty and enforced deprivation. Lack of income and feelings of being reliant on the state for basic services reinforces feelings of social and cultural marginalisation, insider/outsider distinctions, racism, labelling and otherness. In contrast to families’ experiences in the Direct Provision centres, engaging with the local community preschool offered parents a feeling of inclusion and welcome, respect for their parenting role, offered supportive networks where in a range of personal and parenting concerns could be addressed in a safe environment. Overall, results presented in this paper illustrate Irish state failures to meet the needs of asylum seeking children and families and the significance of ‘informal’ social networks for supporting children and families living in Direct Provision in rural communities.