(c. 1740–84). English architect. He gained his early professional experience in Robert Mylne's office, and won the competition to design the Royal Exchange (now City Hall), Dublin (1769–79), which encouraged him to move to the Irish capital. Appointed Clerk and Inspector of Civil Buildings in Dublin in 1775, he was the most important figure in the profession for a few years, and was significant in the creation of Irish Neo-Classicism. He designed Caledon House, Co. Tyrone (1779), later (1812) extended by Nash, and, with his assistant Francis Johnston, designed several churches in the Archdiocese of Armagh for Richard Robinson (1709–94), Archbishop of Armagh from 1765, including the exquisite Primate's Chapel, Armagh (1785). He was involved in the design of several country-houses, and was responsible for the Public Offices (1776–84), the Sublime (now demolished), Newgate Gaol (1775–81), and early plans for the Four Courts (all in Dublin). By 1781 Cooley was overshadowed by Gandon, who was to build the Four Courts (1786–1802) and many other important public buildings in Dublin.
From A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in Oxford Reference.