Two late Tom Shanklin tries spared the Welsh a hefty reverse at Lansdowne Road as Ireland romped to a 36-15 RBS 6 Nations victory.
Unlikely hero Shane Byrne bagged a brace for the hosts, as did returning skipper Brian O'Driscoll in a one-sided encounter that left talk of a Wales resurgence looking distinctly optimistic.
However, while Hansen accepted the scoreline was a true reflection of Ireland's dominance, he insisted his side have moved forward and they will learn the lessons of a disappointing performance.
"I am sure people will get hysterical when they look at the scoreline and say it is another false dawn for Welsh rugby," said the Kiwi, who will stand down at the end of the tournament to become All Blacks assistant coach.
"The reality is that two years ago we came here on a similar afternoon and lost by 50 points.
"We have not arrived yet and we are still going to have the odd bad day. Today was a reality check, the key is to learn from it."
Hansen had no problem pin-pointing the reasons for his team's demise, citing a complete lack of go-forward and a consistent failure to make the first tackle. He also acknowledged that his side were badly outgunned in the forwards.
"Our young lads tried to poke their noses in and got a good slap on the nose," he said.
Ireland took less than a minute to register the first of their six touchdowns, winning a line-out close to the Welsh line after the visitors had failed to clear the kick-off effectively, to set up the drive which Byrne peeled off virtually unseen for a 10-metre romp to the line.
O'Driscoll added a second before Ronan O'Gara followed up his own charge down to score in the corner.