Joe Schmidt's first Championship match in charge did not go completely to plan - captain Paul O'Connell's absence due to a chest infection added to size of the task - but they emerged with a positive performance and an encouraging 22-point victory in the end.
Scotland put up a stubborn resistance and bossed possession and territory for large chunks of the first half, with Greig Laidlaw kicking a lone penalty to a brace from Jonathan Sexton.
The Ireland out-half sparked a late surge from the hosts approaching the interval, almost putting stand-in captain Jamie Heaslip over for a try before the space was created for Andrew Trimble to score in injury-time.
The workhorse winger's effort - adding to his try against Canada last June - gave Ireland the platform of an 11-3 half-time lead, and they went on to seize control of what was a real dog-fight for the guts of an hour.
Within four minutes of Laidlaw's second three-pointer, Heaslip was at the end of a lineout maul for try number two which Sexton converted.
A 57th minute penalty from Sexton widened the margin before influential full-back Rob Kearney crowned his 50th Ireland cap with a well-deserved try nine minutes from time.
Sexton's successful conversion completed his 13-point tally and the Irish bench was unloaded in the final quarter with 22-year-old prop Martin Moore making his senior debut and fellow forwards Jack McGrath and Tommy O'Donnell also getting their first taste of Six Nations action.
Ireland finished the game on the front foot, pushing for a fourth try that almost arrived with both Sean Cronin and Dave Kearney, another of the Six Nations newcomers, going close.
Giving his reaction afterwards, man-of-the-match Jamie Heaslip said: "Huge improvements will be needed for next week. Joe had a couple of choice words for us in the changing rooms afterwards, and I'm sure there will be more on Monday night.
"Our poor analysts will be working on that and won't see the Super Bowl! It will be a huge challenge to go up against Wales, a team that's won this Championship two years in a row."
The number 8 added: "It was a big shock to us about Paulie, we watched lineouts at seven o'clock on Saturday night with him.
"He had given us really good direction during the week, so we had the knowledge and then we had to bring the physicality and intensity, and we managed to do that.
"It was a big shame to lose a character like Paulie, a great leader and an inspiration. But credit to Dan (Tuohy) who had a great game, and will give Joe a good (selection) headache."