Greig Laidlaw has been retained as captain for the season but the half-back misses the trip to Ireland with the knee injury he picked up during Edinburgh's final pre-season friendly against Newcastle.
Sean Kennedy replaces Laidlaw at scrum-half, while centre Ben Atiga and wing Lee Jones return from injury. Despite the injury crisis, head coach Alan Solomons is at least able to select the same eight forwards.
Solomons is without 13 players through injury, including Laidlaw's Scotland team-mates Tim Visser (heel), Matt Scott (ankle), Ross Rennie (shoulder) and Nikki Walker, who is working his way back from shoulder surgery.
"We said from the beginning that we wanted to get a measure of consistency going into the first game, so being able to have a settled pack makes a big difference to us," said Solomons, whose side lost to Northampton and Newcastle in their warm-up games.
"It's a reasonably experienced pack who have delivered two solid performances and so have merited their re-selection.
"Unfortunately the backs are not in the same position because we have injuries to key, top-flight international players: Greig Laidlaw, our captain, Tim Visser and Matt Scott are all out.
"These are three, starting XV Scottish internationalists, so clearly we are going to miss them, however, the boys coming in have played quite a bit in pre-season.
"Sean, Dougie (Fife) and Lee are all really good, young players while Ben is an experienced campaigner who knows the set-up, so I think they certainly have the capability of fitting in and doing the job."