Is there some software that exists that acts as a proxy so that someone using gtalk can talk to an IRC channel? I looked into bitlbee but it seems like the reverse of what I want. It allows you to talk to IM protocols using your IRC client, correct?
You're looking for something like Spectrum2 (link below) which allows you to connect to specific channels on IRC servers. The problem is finding a public gateway which supports this type of service. Spectrum2 is typically stood up next to a private Jabber server and not a public one.
About the only public service that I can find, that supports Spectrum2, is HotChilli and their page doesn't note whether or not the IRC module is enabled. This should give you and idea of what to search for though.
Spectrum2 - http://spectrum.im/