Victor Costello is forced to miss out because of a calf strain and makes way for Munster's Alan Quinlan in the back row.
Eric Miller moves onto the bench to replace Quinlan while the uncapped Donncha O'Callaghan is drafted in as cover at lock.
The unenforced change sees London Irish winger Justin Bishop come in on the right in place of John Kelly, who must settle for a place on the bench.
Girvan Dempsey has failed to recover from the groin injury which kept him out of the victories over Italy and France and so Leicester's Geordan Murphy continues at full-back.
Ulster's in-form fly-half David Humphreys keeps his place at number 10 despite the challenge of Ronan O'Gara who warms the bench for the second match in a row.
His Munster team-mate Rob Henderson loses his place among the replacements with the demotion of Kelly, who can also provide cover at centre.
Ireland team to play Wales in Cardiff:
Backs: G Murphy (Leicester); J Bishop (London Irish), B O'Driscoll (Leinster/captain), K Maggs (Bath), D Hickie (Leinster); D Humphreys (Ulster), P Stringer (Munster).
Forwards: M Horan (Munster), S Byrne (Leinster), J Hayes (Munster), L Cullen (Leinster), M O'Kelly (Leinster), A Quinlan (Munster), K Gleeson (Leinster), A Foley (Munster).
Replacements: F Sheahan (Munster), J Fitzpatrick (Ulster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), E Miller (Leinster), G Easterby (Llanelli), R O'Gara (Munster), J Kelly (Munster).