Cow's right. I think there are some 'anonymous' services out there that will mask you, but its thru a proxy server.
I personally don't see the need to hide your IP unless you're trying to do 'not-so-nice' things.
Here is an IRC Tutorial
. Personally IRC does nothing to blow my skirt up...I guess it was cool 20 years ago
. but sitting idle in channels I tend to miss alot of stuff...IM is much more effective (IMO).
I found it handy (years ago) for Linux help...but now with the HUGE amount of BBs around (like this one)...I no longer find them as useful.