Ireland's players didn't do themselves many favours during a disappointing RBS 6 Nations with their win in Wales on matchday one followed by defeats to England, Scotland and a draw with France before a final day defeat in Italy.
But Gatland, who coached Wales in four RBS 6 Nations, insists he will not judge Ireland's players purely on their displays during the last couple of months.
"We looked at the Six Nations in terms of form but we have got to be aware - and I've been involved in the Six Nations for a number of years - to know it's a tournament of confidence," said Gatland.
"Win a couple and you can go on and win it. You lose a couple and you can have a poor Six Nations.
"We've seen how decimated the Irish team have been with injuries. You've got to take into account everything. For sure, some of those players are disappointed with the way they finished but you have got to keep everyone in mind and not rule them out."