Castlewellan Forest Park lies 22 miles (36 km) due south of Belfast and is noted for being home to the national Arboretum of Northern Ireland, as well as Castlewellan Castle. The park covers 450 hectares of land north of the Mourne Mountains. The facility closes at 8pm, but camping at the forest is allowed from spring to autumn, via reservation and payment of a nominal fee (whether in a tent, a caravan, a motorhome, a campervan, a folding caravan or trailer tent). A friend of EarthSky provided the following descrition: “Dark skies and very little light pollution. Also, the local lake—when it’s clear—is like a mirror and reflects. Peace and quiet. Backdrop to the Mourne Mountains, scenery and views. People, campsites and bike trails. A mini-adventure.”
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.