Not many people IRC anymore. I've been doing that for the past 23 years and I have no intention of stopping. For other IRC fans, I recommend reading Wikipedia article about EFnet. It contains a very nice history of IRC networks since 1990. For example I didn't realize that our European IRC is a split of original EFnet. Back in 1994 we really didn't have any names for the networks, there was just "irc".
Ok, back to the original topic. My weapon of choice has always been EPIC. Given the unpopularity of IRC-clients, for example Fedora Linux has a legacy EPIC 4 in it and I've been running EPIC 5 myself for past years, so I had to do some tinkering to get that properly packaged and running on my own box.
Latest version of EPIC5 is 1.2.0, but it won't compile on Fedora 26 as EPIC5 assumes to have OpenSSL 1.0.2 libraries and Fedora 26 has OpenSSL 1.1.0. The options are to either drop SSL-support completely or patch the source code for 1.1.0 support. I chose the latter.