But Saturday will be the first real test of Eddie O'Sullivan's side as they look to prove they can mix it with Europe's big-guns England and France.
Victory will put Ireland on course for a mouth watering Grand Slam showdown with the English on March 30 while a French triumph will keep Les Bleus' slim championship hopes alive.
France's pack would expect to have the edge on neutral ground but the vocal crowd at Lansdowne Road is a great leveller so don't expect either side to enjoy any real advantage up-front.
Number eight Imanol Harinordoquy is the stand-out player in either set of forwards and the French powerhouse will be determined to follow-up his heroics against Scotland with another eye-catching performance.
His fellow back-row operators Serge Betsen and Olivier Magne are also world-class performers and France are certainly stronger in that area of the game.
Les Bleus boast their usual flair in the backs but Ireland also field an exciting set of strike runners led by skipper Brian O'Driscoll, the most dangerous centre in the world.
O'Driscoll will feature heavily in the match and if he hits top form there is no reason why Ireland can not remain on course for a Grand Slam.