The Azzurri's most capped player is set for his 86th appearance, having missed the whole of the 2004 RBS 6 Nations due to a knee injury.
A hamstring injury doubt over incumbent scrum-half Paul Griffen has forced Kirwan's hand into recalling the 31-year-old.
Treviso pivot Troncon form has been excellent this year and he has been outstanding in the club's three wins in Heineken Cup Pool 2.
Griffen will start on the bench where he is joined by New Zealand-born winger Kaine Robertson, who played against Italy for the Super 10 XV in last Saturday's All-Star match in Catania. Luciano Orquera, born in Argentina, will make his Six Nations debut at fly-half with 21-year-old left winger Ludovico Nitoglia also making his tournament bow in his fourth appearance.
Kirwan's other injury worry is at hooker, as neither Fabio Ongaro (groin) or Giorgio Intoppa (flu) are 100% fit and final selection will be made closer to the match, with 27-year-old vice captain Ongaro the favourite to start.
6ft 6in second row Marco Bortolami has fully recovered from flu and will lead the side.
ITALY (v Ireland):
(15) Roland De Marigny (Parma)(14) Mirco Bergamasco (Stade Francais)(13) Gonzalo Canale (Benetton Treviso)(12) Andrea Masi (Arix Viadana)(11) Ludovico Nitoglia (Ghial Calvisano)(10) Luciano Orquera (Carrera Petrarca Padova)(9) Alessandro Troncon (Benetton Treviso)(1) Andrea Lo Cicero (Conad L'Aquila)
(16) Salvatore Perugini (Ghial Calvisano)(17) Giorgio Intoppa (Ghial Calvisano)/Carlo Festuccia (SKG GrAN Rugby)(18) Carlo Antonio Del Fava (Parma)(19) David Dal Maso (Benetton Treviso)(20) Paul Griffen (Ghial Calvisano)/Pietro Travagli (Arix Viadana)(21) Walter Pozzebon (Benetton Treviso)(22) Paul Kaine Robertson (Arix Viadana)