there is a free version of mirc that i use, it just gives you a register yes/no message when you first start it up.
i did download the hydrairc (havent had much time to check it out) but what i do like is that you can connect to multiple servers at the same time. my irc room is on the gamesurge network while yours is on the gamesnet network. mirc you cant connect to two at once but can with hydra.
i got connected but have the same problem as yomamma and am the only one in the room.