Ireland skipper Paul O'Connell and his colleagues have spoken about their desire to put the record straight this time around and Gatland knows recent results will make Ireland particularly dangerous opposition.
"That's when they are incredibly dangerous when they talk about payback," said Gatland, who knows Irish Rugby well having been coach of their national team between 1998 and 2001.
"We saw that last year when England turned up to win the Grand Slam and they were well and truly beaten by a very motivated Irish team on the day.
"They will be disappointed with the way they played in the World Cup quarter-final. I think tactically we got a lot of things right that day and I thought our loose forwards were outstanding and Rhys Priestland was very good.
"I thought it was an excellent Welsh performance, so that means that Ireland will talk about revenge."
Travelling to Ireland for the first game of this year's championship is a tough way to kick-off Wales' quest for a third Grand Slam in seven years but Gatland is aware that a victory would give his side plenty of momentum to take into the February 12 encounter with Scotland at the Millennium Stadium.
The form of Leinster, Munster and Ulster, who all reached the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup last month, mean Ireland will go into the game full of confidence but Gatland's men are also in high spirits after an outstanding World Cup campaign.
"You have got to look to their provinces. They are doing extremely well, with three teams in the quarter-finals of the European Cup. So it's going to be a tough ask for us," added Gatland.
"I think we tried to creep under the radar for the World Cup. We knew we were in great shape physically. We were quietly confident and no one was talking about us. But there is a huge amount of expectation on us post World Cup to do well.
"People are talking us up a bit. We have got to have that confidence and belief we can have a good tournament and that's a challenge for us to accept that as a team.
"I think my experience with Welsh teams is that there are two times when we are at out most dangerous - when we have our backs to the wall and when we are playing with confidence. Ithought the World Cup was the latter when we had self belief and confidence and that's why we had such a good World Cup.
"We are very well aware that if we can win this first game and get some confidence and get some momentum we have got three homes games out of four after that. It sets us up to for what is potentially a very successful championship.
"But we are definitely not looking past the Irish game and we know how important it is for us. We know how important it is that we get off to a good start."