The Irish direct provision system for asylum seekers is acknowledged as providing a very challenging and exclusionary living environment for adults and children. To date, there has been little research focused specifically on the ways in which the direct provision environment impacts on the parenting role. This qualitative study explores the experiences of parenting in direct provision from the perspective of 16 people living in direct provision centres in the West of Ireland. The themes that emerged include challenges related to moral guidance and protection of children, basic care and nurturing, education and social development, financial stress and psychological well-being. Respondents also identified a range of formal, semi-formal and informal supports as critical to their ability to cope. Given that the parenting role is a critical influence on the well-being of children, the findings raise further concerns that the Irish system of direct provision is potentially damaging to the well-being of the children under its care.