Dragons second row Andrew Coombs makes his debut and Howley says both he and fellow starter Aaron Shingler have a huge amount to offer when it comes to the aerial contest.
"The line-out game against Ireland is always important," said the former Wales scrum half.
"When we've played them recently there have always been a number of line-outs and we need to have options in that area. Andrew will certainly add to that aspect of the game.
"He's been on our radar over the last six months and we watched him over the Christmas period.
"He's a very good ball carrier, his work rate is second to none and obviously he's excellent in the line-out. It's a positive in giving another opportunity to a player to get that strength and depth."
Coombs packs down alongside the fit again Ian Evans with the uncapped Harlequins second row Olly Kohn in reserve.
In the back row, Shingler is joined by captain Sam Warburton and Toby Faletau who also offer a line-out option.
"I think it was important we had options at the line-out and we've been working on that all week," Howley added.
"It's vital you have a solid platform and the line-out is the best place to attack from.
"We think Aaron Shingler played particularly well against the All Blacks and Australia and his ball carrying ability is good.
"He brings that physical edge and it's something he'll be motivated to do on Saturday."
Up front, Wales welcome back the 2009 Lions front row with Adam Jones, Gethin Jenkins and Matthew Rees all starting.
And Howley says the return of Jones is a further boost to his side as they look to reclaim their Grand Slam title.
"We missed Adam Jones in the autumn and he's probably one of the best tight heads in world rugby," he said.
"The scrum has an important impact on the game and we feel we have a lot of strength in depth.
"It's an area where we didn't have that strength in depth in the autumn and I'm delighted to have Adam back."
You can follow all of the action for Wales v Ireland at http://www.wru.co.uk/live