Three lengthy injury-enforced absences have hindered Wallace's international develop, the last of which saw him play just once between the summer of 2004 and last year's Six Nations opener against Italy.
But his stunning form for Munster in last season's Heineken Cup meant a Test recall was inevitable and he did not let the Irish management down, putting in some devastating displays which included a try-scoring turn in the win over Wales twelve months ago.
Ahead of his fourth Six Nations campaign, he said: "It's brilliant to get into the side again. When you look at the talent that's around in the back row and the competition, there's very few injuries and everyone's playing really well.
"I'm sure it was probably close in the final call as well. I'm just very happy to be starting out for Ireland.
"Having the team announcement on Tuesday, with it being a Sunday game, gives guys time to get their heads prepared, get everyone familiar with their own patterns. I think everyone is in good form and looking forward to the game against Wales."
In one of the defining moments of the Guinness Autumn Series, Wallace scampered over for a brilliant 'team' try in the November win over South Africa and coupled with Munster's Heineken Cup success and the Triple Crown triumph, 2006 was definitely a year to remember for the Garryowen clubman.
"The three big wins in the autumn - two big wins for me really, I wasn't involved in the last game - we were delighted with them," he told Irish Rugby TV.
"With Munster, things went very well. Unfortunately now, we've just lost the last game at home in Thomond Park. That was disappointing coming into camp, but having the new focus and trying to get back into the Irish team was enough to take your mind off the pain of it.
"I've missed a couple of seasons through form and injury, so I'm just delighted to be back here again with the Irish squad. When you're out of the loop you come to realise what it really means to you.
"I got so much support from friends and family. It's great to repay a bit of that by staying in the Irish team and performing as best you can."
Wallace will be gunning for a personal hat-trick of sorts at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow, as he has scored two tries in his last two outings against Wales.
Reflecting the mood of the squad, the openside added: "Wales are obviously a very dangerous team, especially at home. We really have our work cut out for us in this first game.
"A lot of people think it's probably our hardest game of the whole championship. The last couple of years we've struggled over there (in Cardiff) and we want to put that right - we're looking forward to it."
Croke Park awaits next weekend, a stadium Wallace had, believe or not, never been at before last week's training sessions at the Dublin 3 venue.
"It's an amazing stadium. We had two training sessions there and I'd actually never been there, which I'm probably a bit embarrassed to say!
"It was fantastic, just great to be there and you could just imagine it being full and a match going on. It was just nice to envisage that."