The 32-year-old was part of the Republic of Ireland squad that travelled to the Far East for the 2002 World Cup finals, but did not feature as Mick McCarthy's men came within a whisker of the quarter-finals.
Dunne, like Shay Given, Damien Duff and Robbie Keane, who did play in Japan and South Korea, has spent the decade since looking for another chance to represent Ireland in a big competition.
Dunne will get his chance when Giovanni Trapattoni's men open their Euro 2012 campaign against Croatia in Poznan on Sunday evening before taking on Spain and Italy, and they are games he is relishing.
The defender said: "I can't wait. They are the biggest games of all of our lives, probably.
"I am confident about how strong we are and if things go our way as far as luck is, we can make it a tough challenge for everyone in the group."
Trapattoni suffered a major scare back in February when Dunne, whose form during qualifying was exemplary, fractured a collarbone playing for Aston Villa against Manchester City.
However, the player was always confident he would be back in business in time to make the plane to Poland, and he proved his fitness against Hungary.
Dunne said: "The club told me how long the process would take. It was good to get 90 minutes and it means I go in with a bit more confidence."
Keane too is itching to get started with the squad having been together for more than a fortnight.
They headed straight from the Ferenc Puskas Stadium to Budapest Airport and yesterday spent the first day at their Gdynia training base close to Gdansk.
Keane said: "Everyone is just excited now to get to the base. It's been a long couple of weeks training, and we are nearing the end of that and ready for the main competition.
"We look forward to settling into our camp in Poland and Sunday's game."
The Ireland party landed in Poland having extended their unbeaten run to 14 games with a 0-0 draw in Hungary.
Trapattoni was less than happy with a performance which had his side having to defend for long periods as the Hungarians' 4-2-3-1 system caused problems.
The Italian, who had indicated the 11 men who started in Budapest would be 90% assured of doing so again in Poznan, said he may have to dispense with his 4-4-2 system when the Republic come up against teams fielding just one striker.