Tacos and Knuckles, Alive, alive, oh

IMG_6308My six-year old grand-daughter has been staying for a few days. Like almost every other kid in America, she is out of school as part of our communal attempt to contain coronavirus.

We bake and cook all day, and Niya spends a lot of time in the bath.At night, I sing her to sleep with a selection of Irish folk songs. It gives both of us enormous pleasure. I know I am lucky to have found such an appreciative audience.

Yesterday I heard poor, long-suffering Alexa being berated for failing to play a song Niya was requesting.

‘What song do you want?’ I asked.

‘Tacos and Knuckles’

“What? Who sings it?’

‘You do. You know Grandma. Alive, alive oh.’

The song she wanted, and which Alexa finally produced, was Molly Malone.

The verse about the ghost with the barrow is particularly relished by both of us. I have loved it ever since my father used to sing it to me at Belfast bedtimes in the 1960s.

Here, in case you do not know the song, is Sinead O’Connor singing it just a little better than I do. And below that, a bonus picture of Niya in her two-tone sequinned shamrock t-shirt and proudly showing off her first wheaten, made to Auntie Dot’s recipe. I’ll make an Irish woman of her yet. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.






About Liz Barron

Returned US Peace Corps Volunteer (Armenia 17-19). Permanent address in Washington DC. Deep roots in Northern Ireland and persistent Belfast accent. Blogger, cook, painter, mother, grandma, Scrabble-player and enthusiastic world traveller.
This entry was posted in Cooking, Cross-cultural understanding, family, Ireland, making bread, molly malone, music, National pride, nationality, St. Patrick, story-telling, things kids say, Things that gladden the heart, wheaten bread. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Tacos and Knuckles, Alive, alive, oh

  1. Lucyvw says:

    Superb. I had to think about it, but Tacos and Knuckles is perfect. Hope you’re all staying safe. Xxxx

    Sent from my mobile – please excuse fat thumbs



  2. Judy Kelly says:

    I must admit that I shed tears with the sheer beauty and simplicity of your telling of Tacos and Knuckles. What a beautiful grandchild you have — you are both very lucky! Much love,


  3. Jacqui b says:

    Yayyy. You’re back! Just when we need you most. Sooo good to get an update on your life Liz. Happy St Patrick’s Day. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lucyvw says:

    Ps my dad used to sing it to us in the car. It’s an absolute portal to my own childhood too. But now, new and improved South western version. Xxx

    Sent from my mobile – please excuse fat thumbs



  5. Auntie Dot says:

    What a lovely little girl – you must be very proud of her. When we were kids we sang ‘Mersey dotes and dosey dotes and little isey disey a Tittley disey too wouldn’t you. Of course it was really Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy, a kid will eat ivy too wouldn’t you. Auntie Dot


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