Halfpenny has been given the nod at full-back, rather than on the wing, and preferred ahead of British and Irish Lions Test players James Hook and Lee Byrne for the first World Cup quarter-final.
But it is a return to the position he regularly filled while rising through the age-grade ranks until graduating as a senior Test match player.
"For me, it is a dream come true," Halfpenny said.
"I have always wanted to play full-back for my country and what a time to do it, in the quarter-final of the World Cup. I couldn't wish for more.
"I am really pleased to be picked there and to be given an opportunity. I want to take it with both hands.
"I always played full-back growing up. It is just where I felt I belonged, really, where I have felt most comfortable. I feel I have had my better performances there."
Halfpenny will hope to shine as part of a razor-sharp Wales back division in attack, but with rain and wind having battered Wellington for much of this week, he knows Ireland's strong kicking game could put him under the microscope.
"If it is wet and windy I would imagine they are going to put it (the ball) up quite a bit. But who knows? They could run it," he added.
"Whatever they do we will hopefully be prepared for it. I am looking forward to the challenge in the air and looking forward to owning the sky.
"It has been very windy in most of the places we have played in this World Cup, and it can be a factor.
"I am extremely excited about our back-line. It's full of talent, pace, skill and power. It's quite deadly, and it is crucial we get good ball and express ourselves.
"We know where our strengths are and we need to execute everything we've got. If chances come in Test rugby, it is important you take them."
That Halfpenny is part of Wales' World Cup campaign is an achievement in itself.
The Cardiff Blues player underwent surgery on his foot and ankle area last April, and he faced a sometimes frantic race against time to regain full fitness before the tournament.
"There were one or two setbacks in my rehab," he said. "It was really tight. The Argentina (warm-up) game was the goal, and we just made that in time.
"We've done everything - oxygen chamber, cryotherapy, underwater treadmill - and the day after my operation I was in rehabbing straightaway because we knew it was so tight in terms of time.
"With the underwater treadmill, the water comes up to about chest height. That takes about 70% of your bodyweight, so you have only got about 30% of your bodyweight going through, which allowed me to get walking again.
"I don't think I could ever think I wouldn't make it (World Cup).
"If I did, I wouldn't be here now. I just had to remain as positive as I could and I had to keep working as hard as I could."
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