It will depend on where you move. Unless you know the specific neighbourhood where you're going to be, I'd say don't bother.
Ideally, your primary school age kids will go to a local school where they'll get to know local kids who they'll end up playing with locally. But, if one school doesn't suit or is full up, you're welcome to go to others.
As a former teacher, I can tell you the secret to schooling is NOT the school. Always, it's the teacher.
In Ireland at the primary level, you'll find that most teachers are well trained and excellent. Some are better than others, of course, but over the course of an 8 year career - babies through 6th class - your kids are guaranteed to run into several top notch teachers.
Worry not, it's not at all intimidating. When you've signed on the dotted line for a rental, then talk to the neighbours and estate agent about the local schools and see what they say. Visit one or two and sign up. If they're full up, there will be another within reasonable distance in the Dublin area. That's about it.
: We are interested in moving to Ireland, and
: have just started the process of reading
: books and sites like these to get as much
: information as possible. Although we'd like
: to live in/near Dublin, we're open to other
: possibilities, especially since the first
: order of business is getting a job!
: We have small children (1yr, 5yr, 7yr) and
: the school setup seems a bit intimidating.
: Is there any point to submitting
: applications now considering the waiting
: lists? Would they even consider us since
: we're not yet living there?