The Simple Life In Dunmore East



Ireland’s only Amish community in Waterford this Summer


Irish and Amish.

Win win.

Rachel Lavin, of the University Times, writes:

“Since finding their feet in Dunmore East the community is now firmly established as Ireland’s first Amish-Mennonite community made up of roughly 75 people. The community is made up of Amish and Mennonites from mainly America, Poland and Ukraine. There is also one newly Amish Welsh family, who converted to the Mennonite way after becoming increasingly exasperated with the Anglican church.

Here, the men and women follow traditional roles with the women primarily working as care-givers and homemakers while the men work mostly in blue collar jobs such as carpenters, blacksmiths, plumbers and shopkeepers. Although men are the main breadwinners, Dan explains the men try to do flexible jobs that allow them to stay at home as much as possible with their family. One of the community’s main sources of income is a co-operative business they set up near their homes, which includes a grocery shop, a bakery, a book shop and a wooden furniture store.

…As well as operating under their own framework of what is just, the Amish are perhaps most famed for living without modern technology. Pastor Dan, who grew up Amish, admits that the devout Amish ‘live a hard life with no electricity or phone’ but that in the Waterford Amish Mennonite settlement, which is more liberal in its belief system,‘we have more modern conveniences’. Indeed, the extent of how much they shun the applications of the modern world was initially confusing to me. I had specifically avoided bringing my laptop to take notes given my assumptions about the Amish being anti-technology so am more than a little surprised to see the pastor opening his laptop mid-sermon, connecting it to a projector and preceding to give a PowerPoint presentation on ‘grace’…

…We finish the day with some final few hymns, or what for me is further lip syncing and then the crowd gradually start to clear up and get ready for home. Taking this as my cue to leave I gather my things and say my thanks. At the door I bump into Rachel, a girl about my age and out of pure curiosity quiz her on the depth of her knowledge on certain current events and pop culture. Do you know who Barack Obama is? Yes. Enda Kenny? Yes Facebook ? Yes, some members even have it. How about selfies? Yes but she’s never taken one. Hmm I see my lift pulling up so try to think of the most arbitrary thing my generation universally knows of. Just as she turns to leave, I settle on the perfect example.

Kim Kardashian?

Rachel turns innocently and says ‘Oh I’m sorry, I don’t really know much about Irish history and legends’…”

MORE here: The Irish Amish, Rachel Lavin, University Times Magazine

Pics by Benedict Shegog/University Times

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94 thoughts on “The Simple Life In Dunmore East

    1. ABM

      We don’t bat an eyelid when a kid is reared by strangers so mammy can pay the mortgage; only for it to spend most of it’s waking day manipulated by a screen.

      Yet when the evil Omish people come here and raise their kids by themselves in the countryside; it’s time to call in social services.

      1. ZeligIsJaded

        No need for social services.

        But when someone says they wear a head-piece to stop bad things getting in their heads, it’s best to just keep an eye on ’em from a distance.

        I don’t care if that’s tin-foil hats or Amish Head Scarves. It’s all a bit loopy!!

        1. Mr. T.

          It’s not loopy.

          It’s different to a narrow Catholic upbringing which believes a woman was impregnated without having sex.

        1. ABM

          At least I had a mammy and know who my daddy is.

          100,000s of Irish kids don’t have this privilige. Sad really.

          1. ZeligIsJaded

            Do you think it was knowing your Mammy and Daddy that made you a fupp-head?

            Or was that coincidental?

          2. Casey

            Yes ABM, excellent point, one you make very well. It is true, the 1000s of babies and young children that died while in the “care” of the Catholic Church that were dropped in unmarked abandoned and callously neglected gravespots had NO idea who their Mammy and Daddy were.

            Thank you for thinking of them.

  1. Spaghetti Hoop

    What if ‘Rachel’ doesn’t give two hoots who Kim Kardashian is? The writer here is straining miserably to make some point here that Amish communities aren’t in touch with the world. It’s a condescending article overall I think.

    1. ReproBertie

      Lets point and laugh at the Amish who know nothing about the vacuous slurry with which we fill our days.

      1. squiggleyjoop

        Barack Obama, Enda Kenny, Facebook, Selfies and Kim Karadashian…I think the writer’s priorities are all out of goose.

        1. Nigel

          Jeez, she just picked a couple of random items off the froth of the current pop culture churn. The piece quoted knocks one or two bits off the myth of Amish insularity as well as some of the writer’s own preconceptions. It comes across as awkward, sure, and not everyone knows the obscure myth of how Kardashain fought beside Cu Chulainn at the Wedding of Clooney where the many-headed Isis tried to devour all of Scotland.

      2. Liggy

        +1 for a point well made.

        What a little toad the oozing slimeball is who constructed this article.

        “Look here is a picture of innocence, let’s cover it in worldly crap and point out that it smells”

        Smells on you

        1. ReproBertie

          Ah lads, including the closing statement would have completely changed the casual reader’s impression of the piece. Stick it in there.

          1. Anne

            Completely changed it?

            How can I not get banned and reply to this in an appropriate way administrators?
            I welcome your suggestions. Fire away.

          2. ReproBertie

            I said casual reader Anne where you’re clearly a professional.

            It changes it from “She doesn’t even know who this ubiquitous celeb is! Ha ha!” to “She doesn’t even know who this ubiquitous celeb is. How lucky is she?”

          3. Anne

            Where does she write – “She doesn’t even know who this ubiquitous celeb is! Ha ha!”?

            Stop listening to the voices in your head and just read what’s in front of you.
            It’s easy.

          4. ReproBertie

            FFS you are really dense today. That was my synopsis of the casual reader’s impression of the piece which makes sense if you read what I actually wrote, i.e.: “including the closing statement would have completely changed the casual reader’s impression of the piece.”

          5. ReproBertie

            Ah Anne, did you never do reading comprehension in school? It’s not just about the words in front of you but the meaning portrayed by the words. In a nutshell “what is the author trying to tell the reader?”

            In this case the meaning is altered by the exclusion of the final comment.

          6. Anne

            Indeed, therefore the final bit shows how you misinterpreted the words in front of you.
            Construing meaning that wasn’t there.

          7. ReproBertie

            Except that the words were not in front of me which is why I said “including the closing statement would have completely changed the casual reader’s impression of the piece.”

            And we’re back to square one.

    2. fmong

      there’s a punchline to the Kim Kardashian line if you read the full piece, shame BS cut it out, changes the context

    3. Mark Dennehy

      To be fair, I keep thinking Kim Kardashian is one of the ones who was fighting the Bajorans, so it’s not like the girl’s badly educated.

      On the other hand, the internet says Kim Kardashian is most famous for a sex tape of herself, so is the university times thinking that a kid not knowing the stars of sex tapes is a sign of a bad education or something?

      Also, the Amish aren’t innocent, they just decided that technology’s meant to serve man, not the other way round. This whole idea that they’ve never seen a working laptop, *that* is a sign of a bad education…

      1. Anne

        It might be an idea to have audio versions of these articles, with the speaking done by Barney and friends, so the tone can be relayed for some.

        “so is the university times thinking that a kid not knowing the stars of sex tapes is a sign of a bad education or something?”

        It looks like a joke.. lost on the humourless, to me.

  2. Mr. T.

    Trashy mockery of the Amish. You can see why they prefer a simpler life. I wouldn’t mind it myself to be honest.

    1. Tom Stewart

      Yes. People’s misunderstanding of the words even they themselves use on a regular basis seems to be getting worse, e.g. “I should of done that”, “I could care less”.

      The fact that this comes from a writer is even more serious.

        1. Anne

          It should be ‘should have’.

          It’s colloquial talk from the common folk, but you’d know nothing about that.

  3. Caroline

    Where’s the mockery and snideness? An article that didn’t address common perceptions about the Amish would be pointless. And in doing so the writer was forced to examine her/our own culture. Seems like a good piece to me.

  4. SLFC Ultra

    Interesting article, and an enjoyable read.

    The last line on the piece could do some fine tuning though IMO!

  5. Friscondo

    Has to be something to be said to exist in a world free from Kardashian pollution and all the other crap thats thrown at us in the name of popular “culture”.

      1. Spaghetti Hoop

        Like it ;)

        There is such a thing as personal interests and it’s pretty narrow-minded to assume that everyone of a certain age/gender/ is into the same stuff. Enough in advertising to do that.

  6. Cian

    They’re menonites, not amish. Specifically, they’re old order menonites. Amish practise shunning of adults who have left their community. The menonites do not.

    They’re also reasonably modern. Although they do not own computers, seeing them in the local library using the internet is pretty normal.l

  7. Outta me Bento Box

    Where do they sell their furniture?
    Not sure why people are making a big deal about Kim K, wasn’t as snide as you’re making out.
    Woeful writing though, is Rachel Lavin in Trinity?:

    “the extent of how much”
    “Here, the men”

    1. Tom Stewart


      “Outside families are entering the hall with their children all dressed in the traditional Amish dress; full-length dresses”

      – “dressed in the traditional Amish dress”? Jaysus.
      – the sentence is begging for a comma after “Outside”
      – The families are in a dual state of being outside, and yet also entering the hall.

      “bearded men in crisp white and black shirts and waistcoats”

      – I doubt this resembled a Black and White Ball, where some daring attendees wore black shirts with white waistcoats. I imagine she was trying to say “white shirts and black waistcoats”, but can’t imagine why she didn’t just say this.

      Read over and edit your article before you submit it for feck’s sake.

    1. Tom Stewart

      @Alfred: if you’re referring partially to my post from 2.47pm above about the poor quality of Rachel Lavin’s writing style, it’s not my intention to be mean. But reading stuff written this poorly is extremely difficult, and seems to be getting more prevalent these days.

      This difficulty would be avoided if the writers I’m talking about took some pride in their work: learned how to use a comma, reviewed and edited their own stuff before submitting, checking their spelling, etc.

      1. Alfred E. Neumann

        I’m referring partly to you.

        Your first comment, in its entirety, was “meh”. When you do get to details your are no kinder. This is a student journalist, and your response must make for unnecessarily unpleasant reading.

        You have a fine bit of mote/beam action going on too, with your stupid insistence that “could care less” is a solecism rather than a variant usage, and your suggestion that writers should review and edit their work before checking the spelling.

        That’s not that you meant, of course. But your sloppiness doesn’t matter, because we all understood you. It’s not your novel. It’s a temporary chat-hole, like an email exchange or a student newspaper.

        1. Tom Stewart

          My comment “Meh” conveyed my indifference to the story, and I stand over it. Their lifestyle is not for me, but they don’t seem to be doing anyone any harm (I imagine that it wouldn’t be difficult to flee if they’re in Waterford) so I wasn’t going to judge. That is not mean. Only someone absurdly sensitive or faced with a lack of evidence while trying to construct an accusation would label it as such.

          She has written in an article that is published online for the world to see. For that, the writer is a fair target of criticism. Drawing a parallel in expected writing standards between a student newspaper and this comments section doesn’t wash at all. My “review your work for feck’s sake” comment was about as mean as it got, but this level of contempt was proportional to the level of contempt she has shown her readers with such a poor writing style.

          You’re saying that “I could care less” is a variant usage? It’s a complete and utter inversion of what the speaker is trying to say (that they couldn’t care less). So yes, I would call it a mistake. It’s hypocritical in the extreme that you call this claim “stupid” while lecturing me on being mean. It’s exaggeration to call what I wrote before now “insistence”. It’s hypocritical and unfair to use the word “sloppiness” to refer to all of the above.

          Accusation without evidence, oversensitivity, drawing an unfair parallel, dismissing another’s claim as “stupid”, exaggerating the facts, and finally, hypocrisy. Terrible style of argument, and one we could well do without here.

  8. Planet of the Missing Biros

    ABM is usually right. All you liberals just hate it because you know it’s true too. People always get most vexed when they hear a truth they don’t like, much more than when they hear an untruth.

    Everyone these days are just big crying babies, wanting everything but prepared to sacrifice nothing.

    1. Mani

      As opposed to your constant mewlings about over indulged young people and ‘liberals’?
      You’re the biggest cry baby of all.

    2. scottser

      ‘everyone’? that’s a pretty big claim to stand over, even for you planet.
      oh, and do you really want to live in a world where abm is usually right?

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