There was anticipation in the air as Ireland arrived at Murrayfield hoping that Scotland would not stand in their way of a second successive Six Nations title.
Wales' Rome triumph meant the Irish needed at least a 21-point win to keep hold of their crown and they wasted little time bulldozing over for a fourth-minute try.
A great break from Tommy Bowe took them to within a yard of the try line. And after the visitors kept the move alive, skipper Paul O'Connell found the room to squeeze round a ruck and finish off the touchdown to become Ireland's oldest ever scorer.
Jonathan Sexton added the extras and then a penalty to cement the perfect start.
Sean O'Brien added another try on 24 minutes but Ireland need to extend their advantage over Scotland - who replied with their own try through Finn Russell - by another 11 points in the second half.
Wales are in the driving seat to win this year's Six Nations title after a scintillating second half display against Italy in RomeRead the full story ›
A hat-trick of second half tries from George North has put Wales into a 42-13 lead over Italy after 60 minutes.
The Welsh needed a penalty at the death in the first half to go into the interval 14-13 ahead, but their Italian counterparts have capitulated in the second period.
As things stand, Warren Gatland's side are four points ahead of England in the fight for the Six Nations title.
Wales' Six Nations title hopes hung by a thread at half-time in Rome as underdogs Italy pushed Sam Warburton's men all the way.
Wing Giovambattista Venditti's 25th-minute try gave Italy the edge until just before the break. Kelly Haimona kicked a penalty before going off injured, while his replacement Luciano Orquera landed a conversion and penalty.
Wales created a try for centre Jamie Roberts, and full-back Leigh Halfpenny kicked two penalties, but a groggy Halfpenny departed the action six minutes before half-time and the visitors had it all to do in pursuit of title rivals England and Ireland, despite Dan Biggar's injury-time strike edging them ahead.
Warren Gatland believes Wales must beat Italy by 40 points to give themselves a realistic chance of clinching this year's Six Nations title.
The Welsh are level on points with Ireland and England ahead of today's final matches, but Gatland's side must make up a 25 point difference to the English and four point difference to Ireland if both of their rivals secure victories.
"To give ourselves a realistic chance of winning [the Six Nations]," Gatland told the BBC. "We need to win by 40 and anything more than that will be a bonus."
He made two enforced changes from the team that ended Ireland's Grand Slam hopes in Cardiff last Saturday, with props Gethin Jenkins (hamstring) and Samson Lee (Achilles) both out injured and replaced by Rob Evans and Aaron Jarvis, respectively.
Italy, meanwhile, went into battle without their captain and number eight Sergio Parisse, who was absent due to a foot injury. Veteran flanker Mauro Bergamasco featured in a reshuffled back-row, with Leicester hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini taking over as skipper.
This season's 6 Nations title race is set for a thrilling conclusion with potential champions being crowned in Rome, Edinburgh or LondonRead the full story ›
France recovered from back-to-back RBS 6 Nations defeats to condemn sorry Italy to a 29-0 defeat in Rome on Sunday.
Les Bleus arrived at the Stadio Olimpico licking their wounds after a 20-13 home loss to Wales that had followed an 18-11 reverse at Ireland but made partial amends by beating the Azzurri in the Italian capital for the first time since 2009.
Italy trailed 12-0 early in the second half with the visitors converting four penalties from Scott Spedding, Camille Lopez (twice) and Jules Plisson.
Toulouse lock Yoann Maestri scored the first try of the game in the 47th minute, before Plisson added the extras and a penalty to nudge the visitors further in front.
Replacement centre Mathie Bastareaud scored a try in injury time to wrap up the convincing win and send the French into their final match against England at Twickenham in a much better mood.
England set up an exciting final day in the 6 Nations but only after toiling to a 25-13 victory over ScotlandRead the full story ›
Wales destroyed Ireland's Grand Slam dream in a pulsating, thrilling encounter at the Millennium Stadium in CardiffRead the full story ›