When is a burial chamber not a burial chamber? Arguably when it's been dug up, partially destroyed and re-erected in a different location opposite a church without any of its previous context.
I don't want to sound too harsh to the poor Ballaharra stones, as I'm generally in favour of restoration/reconstruction of ancient sites. But the four remaining stones here seem to have been reconstructed almost as a garden feature, by the same token if I collected some stones from a cairn on a windswept moor and piled them up at home would I have a megalithic site in my garden? The stones may come from the monument but the monument itself is long gone.
Still the stones themselves are pleasant enough, with two small trees bookending the site, although the proximity to the busy (for the Isle of Man) road spoils things a bit, as does the litter accumulating near the garden wall. Due to the reconstruction it is difficult to tell how the burial chamber would have been structured, since two of the stones were destroyed during its 'excavation' but it looked as if one of the stones was possibly cupmarked.
The information board, with its Stonehengesque delusions of grandeur, is still there but looking a bit faded now. We took a few photos and retired to the very good Tynwald Hill cafe for a drink in front of their lovely open fire.
Visited 25th August 2003: The Ballaharra Stones, like Tynwald Hill have been coiffured and made into something quite un-prehistoric looking. They sit alongside the road in a rose garden, in the shadow of the Royal Chapel of St. John, looking a bit like a badly thought out garden feature. I was a bit melancholic visiting what remains of this tomb, but I guess it's a blessing that anything remains at all.
At the site there is a small information board with strangely out of place images of Stonehenge on it. Why there are no pictures of the Ballaharra Stones as they were found I'm not sure. The text on the board is rather more relevant (links added by me):
In 1971 whilst an extension to the Ballaharra Sandpit was taking place, a chambered tomb and an extensive cremation deposit was discovered.
Sadly the chamber had been disturbed but it was excavated by Miss Sheila Cregeen a local archaeologist from Peel and was discovered to be one of the islands ten megalithic tombs.
The tomb appeared to have had two chambers and was thought to have belonged to the same Neolithic tradition as Cashtal yn Ard in Maughold and King Orry's Grave at Laxey.
A fine range of flint implements and pottery, including some with distinctive decoration were discovered, similar to articles only previously found at Meayll Circle. An urn from the Bronze Age was also found.
Ballaharra was the most important site on the Island for Neolithic pottery.
The site yielded radio carbon dates of circa 2300B.C.
Six large stones were found, unfortunately two were crushed and the four remaining stones were kindly donated to German Parish Commissioners by Keith and Alan Corlett who now own the Ballaharra Sandpit.
The Commissioners re erected the stones on this site (which was the old Village Pinpound) as a Millennium project in 2000/2001. Further details and information can be obtained from the Manx Museum.