Since I'm using a Windows based operating system (the same as large part of the world) this will focus on a well known IRC-client called mIRC (http//www.mirc.com/). For those with Linux or Mac OS please go to IRCHelp (http://www.irchelp.org/) for a client for your OS.
After you've downloaded mIRC it's time to set it up and connect to your nearest Dalnet server. mIRC comes with a list of Dalnet servers so find the one nearest to you as it's likely to be the fastest. Check the Dalnet site for the most recent list. Before you can connect you have to set up a username with a nickname. Choose something unique as 'John' will probably have been taken.
The default mIRC configuration after setup is good enough to be able to connect, but check 2 things: The Ident server must be enabled and under menu 'DCC->folders' edit the default folder to the folder where you want to download to and make sure you set ignore on for harmful files like '.exe, .com, .vbs, etc.' I believe this is set as a default, but I'm not sure. This prevents you from receiving those possibly virus/worm-infected files.
After these steps you can connect to the server. Most likely a channels folder will pop up when you connect, but you can ignore that for now as we now have to register your nick. This is necessary since most (anime)channels only allow access with a registered nickname. You can find how to do this on the Dalnet site (under Services->Nickserve). (All the commands for this must be typed in the Status window). Just make sure that after the